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Former Twitter employee convicted of Saudi espionage

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Associated Press

Associated Press

Barbara Ortutay and Matt O'Brien

Twitter is seen on a digital device, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.
Twitter in 20224 Appears on digital devices on March 25th in San Diego. Photo Credit: Gregory Bull /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Twitter employee accused of illegal activities Charges including registering as an agent in Saudi Arabia after accessing personal data of users critical of the royal government in a convicted Silicon Valley-to-Middle East espionage case.

Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen and former media outlet in the Middle East region of Twitter, his partnership with his manager, said in 2019 that he was a Saudi Arabian citizen without registering with the U.S. government. was charged with acting on behalf of A jury found him guilty of six charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy to launder his money. A jury acquitted him of five of his other charges involving wire fraud.

This is the first time that a kingdom long linked to the United States through its vast oil reserves and regional security agreements has been accused of conducting espionage in the United States.

In a 2019 FBI complaint, Abouammo and Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi Arabian citizen who worked at Twitter as an engineer, used their positions to make claims regarding users, email addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses. It is claimed to have accessed his confidential Twitter data. of which is used to determine the user's location.

His third man named in the complaint, Saudi citizen Ahmed Al-Mutairi, is said to have worked with the Saudi royal family as an intermediary.

In the US complaint, users of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts had their data accessed, which included at least 33 usernames for whom Saudi law enforcement had filed emergency disclosure requests with Twitter. claimed to be included. Abouammo said he was arrested in November 2019 and released on bail. he had pleaded not guilty. The FBI still has Al-Mutairi and Al-Zabala on its wanted list.

Abouammo's attorney and his Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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