US officials seeking probe into Musk’s Twitter deal – WaPo
A US federal agency is looking into whether it has the legal authority to investigate Elon Musk’s recent purchase of Twitter, the Washington Post reports, suggesting the government is interested in the billionaire’s alleged “ties to foreign governments and investors.”
Officials at the US Treasury Department have requested approval to begin a probe into the Twitter deal, multiple unnamed sources told the Post on Tuesday. Though they noted that “preliminary examinations” do not always warrant a full investigation and are “fairly routine,” the sources said Musk’s supposed connections abroad have piqued officials’ concerns.
Separately, the Post also reported that under the terms of the $44 billion purchase, foreign investors will have access to “confidential information about Twitter’s finances,” and possibly its users. The outlet said it was not clear whether the Treasury Department was aware of those details, however, as officials did not elaborate on the exact nature of the probe.
Earlier this week, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy demanded an investigation into the Twitter deal, voicing concerns that foreign powers will have sway over the social media giant. He cited Saudi Arabia by name, likely referring to reports that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz is now Twitter’s second-largest investor behind Musk. The lawmaker called for a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a body authorized to reject major investment deals based on ‘national security’ considerations.
The White House previously considered a “national security review” for the Twitter acquisition, according to the Post, though it’s unclear what decision was ultimately made. The FBI also reportedly “looked into the potential counterintelligence risks posed by the deal” last spring, but it is also unknown whether any further action was taken by the bureau.