90 Miles From Tyranny : Ex-Twitter Manager Convicted of Being Secret Agent for Saudi Arabia + Leaking Private User Information

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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Ex-Twitter Manager Convicted of Being Secret Agent for Saudi Arabia + Leaking Private User Information

Ahmad Abouammo, 41, (left) a US citizen, and Ali Alzabarah, 35, (right) a Saudi who lived in California, were charged in San Francisco Federal Court in November in 2019. Abouammo is awaiting trial while Alzabarah has fled the country

A federal jury yesterday convicted a former Media Partnerships Manager for the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region at Twitter of acting as a foreign agent without notice to the Attorney General, conspiracy, wire fraud, international money laundering, and falsification of records in a federal investigation. The verdict follows a two-week trial before the Honorable Senior U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen for the Northern District of California.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Ahmad Abouammo, 44, formerly of Walnut Creek, California, and currently residing in Seattle, was employed at Twitter as Media Partnerships Manager for the MENA region. The evidence at trial demonstrated that Abouammo took bribes in exchange for accessing, monitoring, and conveying the private information of Twitter users to officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal family. In this position, Abouammo was responsible for protecting Twitter user information and owed Twitter his honest services. Twitter policies also required Abouammo to disclose violations of Twitter's security policies and report gifts from those with business dealings with the company. When questioned about the accesses of Twitter user information and his receipt of bribes, Abouammo then lied to FBI investigators and falsified a document.

"Abouammo acted in secret as an agent of a foreign government targeting dissenting voices," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division. "This verdict shows that the Justice Department will not tolerate any act of transnational repression and will hold accountable those who aid hostile regimes in extending their reach to our shores."

"The Northern District of California is home to many of the most innovative technology companies in the world," said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. "One consequence of this good fortune is that companies in this district often collect and store vast amounts of data from customers and vendors. In this case, the government demonstrated, and the jury found, that Abouammo violated a sacred trust to keep private personal information from Twitter's customers and sold private customer information to a foreign government. Abouammo's decision to accept bribes in exchange for providing to a foreign government the protected information of customers could have untold damaging consequences. As this case demonstrates, we will not tolerate the misuse of personal information or attempts by foreign governments to recruit secret, malign agents at American technology companies. Where such misuse violates the...

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1 comment:

Doom said...

Does anyone even think Twitter higher ups didn't know?