President Joe Biden on Wednesday threatened Elon Musk with a ‘national security’ review after taking over Twitter and vowing to implement new safeguards for free speech on the social media platform.
“I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at, whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate. I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting that it’s worth being looked at,” Biden told reporters Wednesday.
When asked how he would put Musk’s deal under scrutiny, the president said, “There’s lots of ways.”
Musk’s deal was closed in part with a stake from a Saudi Arabian prince.
“Around the time the deal closed, ending a six-month process that included a lawsuit aimed at holding Musk accountable for his deal, Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud released a statement on behalf of Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) announcing the corporation’s massive investment in Twitter,” The Hill reported.
“The statement announced the rollover of KHC and Alwaleed’s combined 34,948,975 shares, valued at $1.89 billion, to ‘the ‘New’ Twitter, led by Elon Musk,’” the report continued.
“Days after Alwaleed’s statement, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to investigate the deal,” The Hill added.
Initial reports that the Biden administration might subject Elon Musk to a national security review for taking over Twitter first began to circulate in October.
“Scoop: Biden admin officials are discussing whether US should subject some of @elonmusk’s ventures to national security reviews, including his deal for Twitter Inc., and the Starlink satellite network, sources tell @SalehaMohsin and me. @BloombergTV,” Jennifer Jacobs reported.
“Elon Musk reacts to Biden officials’ discussions, still at early stage, on what tools, if any, are available to let federal govt to review his ventures. ‘It would be hysterical if the government stopped Elon from over paying for Twitter ,’ a reader tweeted. @elonmusk,” she added.
Elon Musk gave a simple reaction to the report on Twitter.
“100,” Musk tweeted with a laughing emoji.
Occupy Democrats floated their own version of a ‘Russia hoax’ about Elon Musk, based on accusations by Fiona Hill, who was a star witness at Trump’s second impeachment hearing.
“BREAKING NEWS: The national security expert who testified at Trump’s impeachment hearing, Fiona Hill, drops bombshell, accusing Elon Musk of being an “intermediary” who is “transmitting messages from Putin” that will help Putin win his war against Ukraine. RT TO EXPOSE ELON MUSK!” Occupy Democrats tweeted.
“If you’re terrified that Twitter is about to be bought by Elon Musk, a man who U.S. national security expert Fiona Hill just declared is an ‘intermediary’ who is ‘transmitting messages from Putin,’ please RT & join http://Tribel.com, a new pro-democracy Twitter alternative!” the group added.
Elon Musk responded earlier to unsubstantiated reports that he had a discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin before advocating peace between Russia and Ukraine on Twitter.
When asked if a Vice News report that he spoke with Putin was true, he said: ‘No, it is not.”
The Biden administration signaling that it was targeting Elon Musk comes after the tech titan introduced mass layoffs at the company. Content moderation teams, including a human rights team that coordinated with the United Nations, have been credibly accused by Twitter’s critics of having engaged in politically movitated censorship.
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