Ex-Twitter worker Will get 3.5 Years Jail for Spying on Behalf of Saudi Arabia


Dec 16, 2022Ravie LakshmananCyber Espionage / Privateness


A former Twitter worker who was discovered responsible of spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia by sharing information pertaining to particular people has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

Ahmad Abouammo, 45, was convicted earlier this August on varied prison counts, together with cash laundering, fraud, falsifying data, and being an unlawful agent of a international authorities.

Abouammo was arrested on November 5, 2019, after being accused of abusing his entry to Twitter’s inner programs to collect details about Saudi Arabia’s critics on the social media platform. He was employed at Twitter from 2013 to 2015.


“Mr. Abouammo violated the belief positioned on him to guard the privateness of people by giving their private data to a international energy for revenue,” stated Assistant Lawyer Common Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Division’s Nationwide Safety Division.

“His conduct was made all of the extra egregious by the truth that the data was meant to focus on political dissidents talking out in opposition to that international energy.”

Proof introduced in the course of the August trial revealed that Abouammo, who labored as a Media Partnerships Supervisor for the Center East and North Africa (MENA) area, obtained money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in return for conveying figuring out data associated to its dissidents and critics, doubtlessly exposing them to persecution.

A checking account opened by Abouammo within the identify of his father in Lebanon was credited with $200,000 in two transfers, half of which was laundered within the type of small wire transfers to the U.S. with false descriptions. He additionally obtained a luxurious watch that was subsequently bought on Craigslist for $42,000.

As a part of the sentencing, Abouammo has additionally been ordered to forfeit $242,000 and give up on March 31, 2023, to start the jail time period.

One other ex-Twitter worker, Ali Alzabarah, who has additionally been accused of buying non-public data on accounts that have been crucial of the regime, fled the U.S. in December 2015 earlier than being charged.

The event comes as Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former head of safety, blew the whistle on severe safety failings on the firm, along with alleging that Chinese language and Indian governments had pressured the agency to rent considered one of their brokers, and sure had entry to delicate consumer information.

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