Ahmad Abouammo is a former employee of the Twitter company and, according to a Bloomberg report, he was recently convicted of spying for the Saudi government. It would have revealed personal information of users of the platform who had used anonymous pseudonyms to criticize the Kingdom as well as the royal family. Judgment was handed down by a grand jury on Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco.

Not only was he found guilty of espionage but also of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering as well as forgery of documents. Abouammo faces between 10 and 20 years in prison when he is finally sentenced. His trial lasted about two weeks.

Credit – Alexander Shatov / Unsplash

How did he proceed?

As head of media partnerships, Abouammo has helped personalities from the Middle East and North Africa promote their respective Twitter accounts. This is how he was able to access the e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth of users who were critical of the Saudi government.

He subsequently shared this information with Saudi officials during a period that began in November 2014 and ended in May 2015. He received gifts and cash payments from Saudi Arabia for sharing these informations. According to Bloomberg, Abouammo’s former superior was none other than Mohammed bin Salman’s assistant. The latter is currently the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. But he hadn’t acted alone.

The other people involved in the spy story

In 2019, it wasn’t just Abouammo who was accused of spying, there was also another ex-Twitter employee named Ali Alzabarah. He was a site reliability engineer for the company. With Abouammo, they were both accused by the Ministry of Justice. But in 2020, the ministry expanded its charges to include Ahmed Almutari. It seems that he was the one who recruited the two employees and who coordinated the scheme.

Ahmad Abouammo reportedly said he was just doing his job and, above all, he blames Twitter for not securing its users’ data. In 2021, a human rights activist, Ali Al-Ahmed, sued the company, claiming that the latter could have done better to protect its information.


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