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U.S. Charges Former Twitter Employees With Spying for Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia, in the past, has been accused of aggressively going after the regimes detractors.

The U.S. Justice Department says Saudi agents have mined Twitters internal system for personal information about the countrys known critics.

Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters

Federal prosecutors charged two former Twitter Inc.  employees and a Saudi Arabian national with spying on some users of the social-media platform who were critical of Riyadh and providing that information to the kingdom's officials.

The complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco accuses Ahmad Abouammo, Ali Alzabarah and Ahmed Almutairi of acting as illegal agents of a foreign government.

Mr. Abouammo, one of the former Twitter employees, was arrested in Seattle on Tuesday and is accused of trying to obtain personal information about Saudi Arabia's critics, U.S. authorities said Wednesday. He made an initial court appearance Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Mr. Alzabarah, the other former Twitter employee, allegedly used employee credentials between November 2014 and May 2015 to obtain email addresses, dates of birth and other information about people who had published posts critical of the Saudi royal family, prosecutors said.

"This information could have been used to identify and locate the Twitter users who published these posts," the Justice Department said.


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