Did the Twitter Spy Commit Naturalization Fraud?

By Dan Cadman on November 8, 2019

The United States has charged two men, both Twitter employees, for having used their positions in the social platform to spy upon dissidents on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

One of the men charged, Ali Alzabarah, is described as a Saudi citizen who fled back to his homeland when placed on administrative leave by Twitter, which suggests that corporate officials knew he had spied and, by suspending him, tipped the government's hand before it was ready to act. Twitter may even have been the source of the information provided to the federal government that led to the charges, although that's not clear at this point.

The other man, Ahmad Abouammo, who did not flee and was taken into custody in San Francisco, has been described as a U.S. citizen. Chances are pretty good that Abouammo is a naturalized citizen, though no journalist has apparently dug too deeply into his or Alzabarah's origins yet. But Abouammo's immigration and citizenship files — presuming he's foreign-born, and I'd bet good money on it — should be looked at closely as this matter progresses.

Exactly when did he become a spy for the Saudis? Was it prior to his naturalization, if in fact he's naturalized? The chances are good that he began his spying commensurate with his employment at Twitter since that would be a gold mine of information for a regime that doesn't tolerate political opposition. And there is quite possibly a ready-made case to argue in favor of stripping him of his citizenship for concealing a material fact at the time he swore the oath of citizenship, which in any event he obviously did not take seriously since that oath required him, in relevant part, to:

[A]bsolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; [to] support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America ... [and to]bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

Clearly, spying on behalf of the Saudi regime in its efforts to crush dissidents doesn't fit into that sworn acknowledgement of the duties and responsibilities of new citizens.