Former U.S. Intelligence Officers Working for Foreign Governments is Worrying Officials in Washington

FILE – Mohamed bin Hamad Al-Thani, left, Chairman of the 2022 bid committee, and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, hold the World Cup trophy in front of FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke after the announcement that Qatar will host the 2022 soccer World Cup, on Dec. 2, 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland. Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to help spy on soccer officials as part of an aggressive effort to win and hold on to the 2022 World Cup tournament, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

Former U.S. intelligence officers going to work for foreign governments with questionable human rights records is worrying officials in Washington and prompting calls from some members of Congress for greater scrutiny of an opaque and lucrative market.

The tiny Arab nation of Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to help spy on soccer officials as part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and hold on to the 2022 World Cup tournament, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

The AP’s investigation found Qatar sought an edge in securing hosting rights by hiring former CIA officer turned private contractor Kevin Chalker to spy on rival bid teams and key soccer officials who picked the winner in 2010. Chalker also worked for Qatar in the years that followed to keep tabs on the country’s critics in the soccer world.

The AP’s investigation is based on interviews with Chalker’s former associates as well as contracts, invoices, emails, and a review of business documents.

Chalker, who opened an office in Doha and had a Qatari government email account, said in a statement provided by a representative that he and his companies would not “ever engage in illegal surveillance.”

Chalker declined requests for an interview or to answer detailed questions about his work for the Qatari government. He also claimed that some of the documents reviewed by the AP were forgeries.

– Ella Breedlove