Another federal agency under the control of President Joe Biden is considering opening an investigation into Elon Musk following his purchase of Twitter.
The Washington Post reported that U.S. Treasury Department officials are looking at whether they have the authority to investigate the purchase due to his close ties with foreign investors and governments, including some that are hostile to the U.S.
The report said that officials are concerned because “large foreign investors would have access to confidential information about Twitter’s finances — and potentially its users,” under the terms of Musk’s purchase of the company.
The outlet claimed that Biden’s FBI also looked into potential counterintelligence concerns that may arise from the Twitter deal last spring but it is not known if the bureau has continued its investigation or where agents are on the matter.
In October, the White House was reportedly discussing whether to subject Musk’s business dealings to national security reviews due to the amount of power he supposedly has. While the White House denied the claim, Bloomberg News reported that administration officials were targeting Musk’s deal with Twitter as well as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet network.
The Daily Wire added:
The Washington Post specifically noted that the areas of concern are related to “a Saudi prince’s holding company and a subsidiary of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund,” which are some of the investors backing the deal. An even more problematic investor is the Chinese cryptocurrency exchange Binance, and Musk has extensive ties to communist China through his role as CEO of Tesla.
Treasury staff at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) are reportedly investigating whether Musk’s purchase of Twitter could spark a national security investigation after a 2018 legislative update allows CFIUS to investigate “not only foreign ownership, but minority stakes in critical areas, including sensitive personal data held by businesses.”
Interestingly, Biden was in Saudi Arabia recently begging the regime there to pump more oil after he depressed output in the U.S. with his anti-fossil fuel policies.
Meanwhile, Andrew Grotto, a one-time senior director for cybersecurity policy focused on CFIUS during the Obama and Trump administrations, warned that hostile governments and entities who are attempting to gather sensitive info on Americans would pose a grave national security risk.
“That is an area where I think CFIUS has some pretty robust authority to ensure that Americans’ personal data isn’t exploited nefariously by a foreign government,” he said, according to the Post “That springs to my mind at least as one major vector for CFIUS to pursue an investigation.”
In addition, Sen. Chris Murphy, a partisan Democrat from Connecticut, said that the CFIUS should “conduct an investigation into the national security implications of Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Twitter.”
“We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in repressing political speech and impacting U.S. politics, are now the second-largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy said. “There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a review.”