2 Ex-Twitter Officials arrested of spying for Saudi Arabia
Two Ex Twitter employees and a third from Saudi Arabia face US allegations of spying for the kingdom by digging up private user data and sending it to Saudi officials in exchange for payment, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.
Ali Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo, that used to work for Twitter, and Ahmed Almutairi, who then worked for the Saudi royal family, face prosecution for working for the Empire of Saudi Arabia without being registered as foreign agents, as per a lawsuit filed against them.
As per the lawsuit, Abouammo regularly contacted a popular critic of the Saudi royal family’s Twitter account at the start of 2015. At one point, he was able to access the email mail address associated with the account. He also accessed the account of a different Saudi critic to collect personally identifiable information.
“This content could have been used to classify and locate users of Twitter who released these posts,” the Department of Justice said in a written statement.
Saudi Arabia, a crucial US ally in countering Iran, has endured strong Western scrutiny of its human rights record, including the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his role in the devastating war in Yemen the year before.
Almutairi, for his role, is allowed to behave for a go-between for employees of the Saudi government and Twitter.
Abouammo is under detention in Seattle, Washington, whereas the other two are in Saudi Arabia, according to the Ministry.
The two-man received cash as well as other gifts, such as an expensive bag, for details, the lawsuit stated.
The Saudi embassy did not answer instantly to an invitation for comments.
Twitter said that it was thankful to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice. “We know the length of time that bad actors are going to try and disrupt our system,” he said in a statement.
“We acknowledge the tremendous threats faced by some who use Twitter to express their experiences with the world and keep those in authority accountable,” stated Twitter.