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Biden says Elon Musk may be nat’l security threat: ‘worth being looked at’

Joe Biden. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
November 10, 2022

President Joe Biden said the national security risks of Elon Musk’s foreign business deals are “worth being looked at.”

Biden suggested during a press conference Wednesday that the entrepreneur’s foreign sources of capital – including nearly $2 billion from a Saudi prince for his recent Twitter takeover – could pose a threat to national security, CBS News reported.

“I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at,” Biden said, after chuckling. “Whether or not he’s doing anything inappropriate, I’m not saying that, but it’s worth being looked at.”

He said “there’s a lot of ways” to review the foreign investments, according to the Washington Post.

Musk paid much of the cost of Twitter himself after selling part of his stake in his electric vehicle company, Tesla. But large investors, including from abroad, also came in with more than $13 billion, according to Reuters.

Foreign investors included Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, owner of a Saudi conglomerate holding company, who gave $1.89 million, Reuters reported. Another was Qatar Holding, an investment firm founded by the gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund, which gave $375 million.

Musk was also recently accused of being a mouthpiece for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Tesla’s business is heavily dependent on the Chinese government’s goodwill, as reported by the Washington Post.  

Biden’s remark supports previous reports that his administration was looking for ways to put the controversial billionaire’s ventures under national security review. One way to do that is through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which has the authority to undo completed deals that pose national security threats.

A recent report from the Brookings Institution think tank concluded that Biden “would have strong grounds for blocking Musk’s Twitter acquisition or at the very least compelling the minority foreign investors to sell their equity to parties that would not pose a national security threat.”