Elon Musk is probably the most prominent tech mogul on the planet. However, he also happens to hold immense influence on several world affairs. The most recent example would be how he influenced the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
The Senate Armed Services Committee is initiating an investigation into national security concerns stemming from Musk’s influence over the Russia-Ukraine war.
Musk’s influence on the Russia-Ukraine war
This comes from Musk’s decision to withhold his Starlink satellite network from aiding a Ukrainian attack on Russian warships near the Crimean coast.
According to Pentagon officials quoted in The New Yorker article, several high-ranking officials see Elon Musk as almost like an “unelected official, or an unelected senator.” They’re also concerned about his views on Vladimir Putin. The report also highlighted SpaceX’s Starlink satellites’ critical role in the Ukraine situation.
Because of this report’s revelations, Musk’s father, Errol Musk, has said Elon has a good chance of being assassinated.
Chairman Jack Reed announced the investigation, citing “serious national security liability issues” raised by the reports regarding Starlink’s non-availability for the Ukrainian operation. Reed emphasized that the committee is actively examining the situation from various angles.
Musk’s control of SpaceX is causing issues.
SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk, has become a principal US contractor, handling the launch of spy satellites for the Defense Department and operating the Starlink network. As of now, SpaceX has not responded to requests for comments on the matter.
Reed clarified that the committee’s investigation will encompass a broader examination of the satellite market, government contracts, and the substantial role played by Musk and his company in these areas.
Questions have been raised by Reed and other senators about why the decision regarding Starlink’s use was made by a private individual rather than a government official. Reed stressed that no private citizen, including Elon Musk, should have the final say when it comes to US national security.
A messy situation
Democratic senators on the committee, including Jeanne Shaheen and Elizabeth Warren, have been seeking answers from the Defense Department regarding Musk’s involvement in deciding when Ukraine can access the satellite network. They plan to send a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, requesting details about Starlink and Musk’s activities in Ukraine.
Shaheen expressed her frustration, noting that she has asked for information during classified briefings but has yet to receive satisfactory answers.
It’s worth noting that at the time of Ukraine’s initial request, Elon Musk’s Starlink project did not receive US funding for operations in Ukraine. However, it is currently supported with Pentagon funds.