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Ex-Twitter employee Gets 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia

Ex-Twitter employee Gets 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia

Ex-Twitter employee Gets 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia

An ex-employee of Twitter who was found guilty of espionage for Saudi Arabia by disclosing information about specific people was given a three-and-a-half year prison term.

On several criminal offenses, including money laundering, fraud, fabricating records, and acting as an unauthorized agent of a foreign government. Ahmad Abouammo, 45, was found guilty earlier this August.

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Abouammo was detained on November 5, 2019. After it was claimed that he had abused his access to Twitter’s internal infrastructure to gather data on the social media platform’s critics of Saudi Arabia. He worked at Twitter between 2013 and 2015.

Furthermore, the National Security Division of the Justice Department’s Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen stated that Mr. Abouammo had violated the trust entrusted to him. To preserve people’s privacy by selling their private information to a foreign entity.

His actions were made even more reprehensible. By the fact that the material was meant to be used against political dissidents who spoke out against that foreign power.

Evidence presented at the trial in August showed that Abouammo managed media partnerships for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Also, he received payment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This was in exchange for providing identifying information about the country’s critics and dissidents, possibly exposing them to persecution.

Also, Abouammo opened a bank account in Lebanon in his father’s name. And in two transfers, $200,000 was credited to it. With the other $100,000 being used to launder money. This was done by sending tiny wire transfers to the United States under false pretenses. He also received a pricey watch, which he later sold for $42,000 on Craigslist.

Ex-Twitter employee Gets 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia

Abouammo has also been ordered to forfeit $242,000. As part of the sentence and turn himself in on March 31, 2023, to start the jail term.

Ali Alzabarah, another ex-Twitter employee who has also been charged with obtaining personal data from accounts critical of the government, left the country in December 2015 before being arrested.

The development comes after Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, exposed severe security flaws at the company and claimed that the Chinese and Indian governments had compelled the company to hire one of their agents, who likely had access to important user data.

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