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US is considering a national security review of Elon Musk

Oct 21, 2022

Representatives of President Joe Biden’s administration are discussing whether the US should subject some of Elon Musk’s businesses to national security checks.

The review should include the Twitter deal and the Starlink SpaceX satellite network.

This was reported by Bloomberg.

As the publication notes, U.S. officials are concerned because of Musk’s recent threat to stop supplying the Starlink satellite service to Ukraine and his friendly stance toward Russia in a series of tweets in which Musk outlined peace proposals in favor of Putin. They are also concerned about his plans to buy Twitter with a group of foreign investors.

The discussion is still in its early stages, the sources said. One possibility is through a law regulating the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is administered by the US Treasury Department, to vet Musk’s ventures.

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One element of the $44 billion Twitter deal that could trigger CFIUS scrutiny is the presence of foreign investors in Musk’s consortium. The group includes Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange founded and run by a native of China, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

Musk, the world’s richest man, has in recent weeks announced proposals to end Russia’s war against Ukraine on Putin’s terms and threatened to cut financial support for Starlink Internet in Ukraine. His tweets and public comments have disappointed officials in the US and Europe and drawn praise from opponents of the US.

Musk later retracted his threat to stop funding Starlink and said he would continue to bear the cost of the service. Starlink became an important communication tool in Ukraine during the Russian invasion. Musk provided the service for free, but said SpaceX was losing $20 million a month by providing it to Ukraine, and he could not bear the costs indefinitely.

According to people familiar with the matter, the US government would also use Starlink in the event of a communications outage.

SpaceX takes astronauts to the International Space Station as part of a long-standing partnership with NASA and launches top-secret satellites for the Pentagon. The US Agency for International Development, or USAID, has also paid for some SpaceX Starlink satellites to be delivered to Ukraine.

Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 21/10/2022

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