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article imageSome former Twitter employees spied for Saudi Arabia

By Ken Hanly     Nov 8, 2019 in Politics
The US Justice Department claims that three people including two former employees of Twitter and a third person who was working for the Saudi Royal Family face charges associated with spying for Saudi Arabia without registering as foreign agents.
Abouammo and Alzabarah
A recent Middle East Eye article details what Abouammo is alleged to have received: ""..according to a complaint filed in a US District Court in California this week, US citizen Abouammo had used his position at Twitter to spy on Saudi dissidents on behalf of a Saudi royal court official. For his efforts, he had received a $20,000 gold watch and at least $300,000 from the official, sometimes channeled through a relative’s Lebanese bank account, parsed out in transferred dribbles and used as a down payment on this new home." His new home is in Seattle Washington.
Alzabarah spied mostly under the direction of someone named Ahmed al-Mutairi also named in the complaint against Abouamo. Mutari described himself as an adviser for the Saudi Royal Family. Alsabarah complained about not being properly recompensed for his work. However, eventually he appears to have been paid enough to leave his position at Twitter: "Eventually, Alzabarah seems to get at least some of what he wants. According to the complaint, he quits his job at Twitter, sending his resignation email while flying to Saudi Arabia where he started to work for the foreign official's charity and also on a team with Mutairi, monitoring and manipulating social media "for the benefit of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia". " However, Alzabarah does not appear to have received a gold watch!
What the former Twitter employees did
Alzabarah and Abouammo
are alleged to have repeatedly accessed the accounts of Twitter members who were critical of the Saudi royals, viewing their phone numbers, email addresses linked to their account and other personal identifiable data.
Altogether Twitter found there was unauthorized data access to over 6,000 account including at least 33 that the Saudis had attempted to get directly from Twitter in the past.
No response to the spying
Neither Trump nor his administration have as yet commented on the Twitter spying issue. Saudi Arabia also has said nothing.
The spying however may provide even more fuel for those opposed to the US sale of Arms to the Saudis and who to limit Saudi abuse of US ties.
More about Twitter, Saudi arabia, Saudi opponents on Twitter
 
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