USA Charges Former Twitter Employees With Spying For Saudi Arabia

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USA has charged former Twitter employees - Ahmad Abouammo, Ali Alzabarah, and Ahmed Almutairi with spying for Saudi Arabia against the kingdom's critics

Written By Tanima Ray | Mumbai | Updated On:

The US has charged two former employees of Twitter for being the spies to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi agents are charged at a US court on November 6 with seeking personal information about Twitter users including known critics of the Saudi government. The accused Ahmad Abouammo - a US citizen, and Ali Alzabarah are originally from Saudi Arabia. A third person, Ahmed Almutairi who is also a Saudi citizen is also accused of acting as a mediator between Abouammo and Alzabarah. It's the first case of  Saudi citizens being charged with spying inside the United States.

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Twitter employee fled to Saudi Arabia after illegally accessing data

On Wednesday, Ahmad Abouammo appeared in a Seattle court and was remanded in custody pending another hearing due on Friday.  Ahmad is also charged with falsifying documents and making false statements to the FBI. He left his job as a media partnership manager for Twitter in 2015. The other two accused, Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi are believed to be in Saudi Arabia. Alzabarah was accused of accessing personal data of over 6,000 Twitter users in 2015 after being recruited by Saudi agents. Investigators said at the court that when Twitter was about to confront him, he fled the country with his family to Saudi Arabia. The mediator is also believed to be in the Middle Eastern country.

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Twitter responds to the investigation

Responding to the investigation, Twitter said in a statement to media that it realises that the former employees are going to drag down the company and undermine it. The Social Media giant apologised, saying that it understands the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. It assured the public that it has tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work.  

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(With agency inputs)

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