Former Twitter employee convicted of spying for the Saudi government sentenced to prison – but for fewer years than prosecutors demanded

A former Twitter employee convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to prison.

What is the background?

Ahmad Abouammo, an American-Lebanese dual citizen, worked for Twitter from 2013 to 2015 as Media Partnerships Manager for the Middle East and North Africa.

In August, Abouammo was found guilty of using his access to spy on Twitter users on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government to help them stamp out dissent. For this he received gifts and money.

NBC News explained:

According to an FBI agent testimony submitted to the Northern District of California, in 2014 a Saudi government agent began courting Abouammo by buying him gifts and depositing money into his cousin’s bank account. Abouammo then began secretly accessing accounts of users critical of the Saudi government, sharing their email addresses and phone numbers with the government agent.

Then, after leaving Twitter, Abouammo used access to friends who still worked at Twitter to carry out requests from the Saudi government. He got arrested in 2019.

Officially, Abouammo was convicted on charges of acting as a foreign government agent, fraud, money laundering and falsifying records. He faced 10 to 20 years in prison.

How many years did he receive?

To to ReutersProsecutors urged a judge to sentence Abouammo to just over seven years in prison, advocating a “sentence strong enough to deter others in the tech and social media industries from accessing vulnerable users’ data.” to sell”.

Instead, a judge sentenced Abouammo to just 3.5 years in federal prison.

One more thing?

Foreign governments infiltrating Twitter through its employees is apparently a well-known problem.

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the former security chief of Twitter, testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in September that China and India have embedded agents in Twitter, which the company failed to discover.

“We simply lacked the ability to hunt down foreign intelligence agents and drive them out ourselves,” he admitted.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/ahmad-abouammo-sentenced-to-prison Former Twitter employee convicted of spying for the Saudi government sentenced to prison – but for fewer years than prosecutors demanded

Laura Coffey

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