Saudi government linked to threats against ex-FBI agent

Lebanese-American former FBI agent critical of Saudi 'targeted' by Riyadh: report
2 min read
17 July, 2020
A recent report links Saudi Arabia to a cyber campaign targeting a prominent US-based critic who lead investigations into 9/11 attacks carried out primarily by Saudi citizens.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington has denied its involvement in social media attacks [Getty]
A social media campaign targeting Ali Soufan, a  Lebanese-American former FBI agent, is beleived to originate from the Saudi government, a report by the New Yorker said on Thursday.

The report details an online campaign, similar to one that was waged against Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi before he was killed at the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul in 2018.

"Make yourself dead, beginning of the end," one tweet addressed to Soufan said, prompting an FBI investigation into the matter.

Investigators on the case traced "at least part of the campaign" to an official in the Saudi government, the report said. 
Soufan's cyber attackers also included individuals who had targeted Khashoggi.

The campaign used Saudi's narrative against its bitter rival, Qatar, to attack Soufan by claiming the former FBI agent was granted Qatar citizenship – which he denies.

While the Saudi Embassy in Washington has denied its involvement in social media attacks, swarms of Saudi bots continue to target the kingdom's critics with slurs, death threats and false allegations.

Read also: Alleged 'FBI torturer' invited to UK parliament

Soufan has played a prominent role as an unapologetic critic of Saudi Arabia and its failure to stop September 11 attacks, which were carried out by fifteen Saudi Arabian nationals in addition to four other hijackers.

After Khashoggi's death, Soufan helped hold a memorial for the slain journalist in Washington, which was attended by American officials, including a number of senators and members of Congress.

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