Joe Biden stated Elon Musk’s hyperlinks to overseas nations are “worthy of being looked at”, in response to a query about whether or not Washington had nationwide safety considerations around the globe’s richest man.
“I think that Elon Musk’s co-operation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at,” Biden informed reporters on Wednesday, with out elaborating on additional particulars. The US president added he was not “suggesting . . . whether or not [Musk] is doing anything inappropriate”.
Biden’s feedback increase recent questions on the potential for authorities scrutiny on Musk’s dealings lower than two weeks after the Tesla boss closed the $44bn Twitter deal, one of the high-profile and risky acquisitions in latest occasions.
They come after media stories final month that US officers had been debating whether or not they had any authorized avenue to assessment Musk’s actions, together with the Twitter deal and SpaceX’s Starlink terminals, on nationwide safety grounds. The White House denied these stories had been true.
Musk has been caught up in a separate controversy over the Starlink terminals, made by his privately held firm SpaceX, which had been transferred to Ukraine to offer web to the inhabitants and the army amid Russia’s invasion. After initially receiving reward from Kyiv, the billionaire upset Ukrainians when he proposed on Twitter Crimea be ceded to Russia as a part of a peace cope with Moscow.
Last month, Musk complained that the Ukraine service was costing SpaceX practically $20mn a month earlier than abruptly saying he would pay for the assist “indefinitely”.
The Financial Times in October reported some Starlink gadgets suffered outages in areas that had been free of Russian occupation, elevating questions on whether or not the corporate had stopped the service. Some gadgets in the end got here again on-line.
Some US lawmakers have expressed considerations about nations that backed Musk’s Twitter buyout. Chris Murphy, a Democratic US senator from Connecticut, final week requested the Committee on Foreign Investment within the US, an inter-agency panel that opinions inbound investments for safety dangers and is led by Treasury, probe the Twitter transaction.
In a letter to Treasury secretary Janet Yellen, Murphy stated financing supplied by members of the Saudi royal household and the dominion of Qatar would translate right into a roughly 5 per cent stake collectively within the now privately held Twitter.
“Given Twitter’s critical role in public communication, I am concerned by the potential influence of the government of Saudi Arabia,” he wrote.
“Setting aside the vast stores of data that Twitter has collected on American citizens, any potential that Twitter’s foreign ownership will result in increased censorship, misinformation, or political violence is a grave national security concern,” Murphy stated.
The Treasury and Musk didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Biden’s assertion.
Additional reporting by James Politi and Hannah Murphy