By TechThop Team
Posted on: 11 Aug, 2022
A former Twitter employee was convicted Tuesday of spying in Silicon Valley and the Middle East by accessing private information on users critical of the kingdom's government without registering as an agent for Saudi Arabia.
An American citizen and former Twitter Middle East media partnership manager, Ahmad Abouammo, was charged in 2019 with acting as Saudi Arabia's agent without government registration.
In addition to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, a jury found him guilty of six counts.
A jury found him not guilty of five other charges related to wire fraud as well. In this case, Saudi Arabia was accused for the first time of spying in the U.S. due to its vast oil reserves and regional security arrangements.
An FBI complaint filed in 2019 alleges that Abouammo and Saudi citizen Ali Alzabarah, a Twitter engineer, used their positions to gain access to Twitter's confidential data, including email addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses, which could be used to locate a Twitter user.
As an intermediary, a third person named in the complaint was accused of working with the Saudi royal family, Saudi citizen Ahmed Al-Mutairi. The U.S.
The complaint alleges that Twitter user data was accessed from more than 6,000 accounts, including at least 33 usernames for which Saudi law enforcement had sought emergency disclosure from Twitter.
In November 2019, Abouammo was arrested and released on bond. In his plea, he pleaded not guilty. It is still believed that Al-Mutairi and Alzabarah are wanted by the FBI.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reached out to Abouammo's attorneys and Twitter for comment.
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