Two former Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia


Two former Twitter employees have been accused of spying for Saudi Arabia.

Federal investigators say the Saudis recruited the men to keep track of people criticizing the kingdom online.

ABC’s Kenneth Moton has more.

Two former Twitter employees are accused of spying for Saudi Arabia.

The men allegedly used their access at the social media giant to gather sensitive and personal information on critics of the Saudi regime.

The goal, according to the complaint, was to find information that would give up a user’s location.

“This ought to serve as a wake-up call to not only Twitter, but all big tech companies. They have become large and powerful and they are up against highly complex spy operations,” said Tom Bossert, ABC News, Homeland Security Analyst.

One of the men, a U.S. citizen, is already under arrest. He was allegedly paid $300,000 by a person identified only as “foreign official one” to access users private information.

The other former Twitter employee, a Saudi citizen, obtained the Twitter data of more than 6,000 Twitter users, including at least 33 user-names for which Saudi Arabian law enforcement has submitted emergency disclosure requests to Twitter.

Authorities also charged a third man, a Saudi citizen who did not work for Twitter.

The case marks the first time federal prosecutors have charged Saudis with deploying agents inside the United States.

According to Prosecutors, the Saudi government recruited the men, because the Saudi royal family grew frustrated by the growing criticism of its leaders on social media.

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