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Justice Department charges were revealed on Wednesday against two former Twitter employees for spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia by obtaining information on dissidents who use the platform, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters via the Post: This marks the "first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused the kingdom of running agents in the United States. ... The case highlights the issue of foreign powers exploiting American social media platforms to identify critics and suppress their voices," and it has escalated concerns over the tech industry's ability to protect user data.

The big picture: Ahmad Abouammo has been charged with spying on three users — one of which discussed Saudi leadership. Ali Alzabarah, the other former employee, allegedly accessed the private information of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts in 2015.

  • One of the accounts breached by Alzabarah belonged to a Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, who had been close to slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Prosecutors say a third individual, Ahmed Almutairi, has also been charged with spying, serving as an intermediary between Saudi Arabia and Twitter employees.
  • Both Alzabarah and Almutairi are believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

What they're saying:

  • “The criminal complaint unsealed today alleges that Saudi agents mined Twitter’s internal systems for personal information about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users,” U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said, per the Post.
  • “We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law.”

Our thought bubble via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: This is a classic "insider risk" situation, illustrating how a company's public commitments to protecting individuals' data can fray if it's not also effectively curbing employee misbehavior.

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Natural gas pipeline project cancelled after Supreme Court victory

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Dominion Energy announced Sunday it has agreed to sell its natural gas transmission and storage network to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in a deal valued at $10 billion, including the assumption of debt.

Why it matters: The deal comes as Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy announced they are canceling their plans for the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline following a Supreme Court ruling. The ruling removed major hurdles for the companies, but "recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated" for the project.

Trump campaign "strongly" encourages face masks at outdoor rally

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The Trump campaign will be providing face masks and hand sanitizer for all attendees at an upcoming rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

  • The campaign said in an email on Sunday that attendees are "strongly encouraged" to wear the masks.

Why it matters: The campaign's first coronavirus-era rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was notable for its lack of masks.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 11,317,637 — Total deaths: 531,729 — Total recoveries — 6,111,910Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 2,852,807 — Total deaths: 129,718 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.