Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the highest-ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, pushed new Twitter CEO Elon Musk about data security concerns raised by a Twitter whistleblower who came forward before Musk completed his acquisition of the company.
Grassley’s letter to Musk on Wednesday focuses on issues that Musk inherited when he acquired Twitter and is different from setbacks from the senator’s Democratic colleagues, who focus on changes Musk has made since taking over the reins at the end of October.
Grassley told Musk that the former CEO of Twitter had cited “the ongoing lawsuit with you as an excuse” to avoid questions about the whistleblower allegations. Now that Musk has completed his $44 billion acquisition, Grassley told Musk he is “uniquely positioned to provide Congress with answers where [his] predecessor failed.”
In September, former Twitter security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko claimed far-reaching security flaws on the platform in a whistleblower notice to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and lawmakers. Zatko also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Grassley asked Musk to respond to questions he and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Twitter’s former leadership about the allegations in September.
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The pressure from Grassley to respond to previous security concerns on Twitter comes as Democrats and advocacy groups push Musk to do what they believe pose additional security threats from changes under his leadership.
For example, Democrats and advocacy groups have pushed Musk on how to deal with security risks caused by users being able to pay for blue verified check marks without verifying their identity. The initial rollout of this process was messy and interrupted, but Musk said he was expected to return. On Tuesday, he said the relaunch would be put on hold “until there is a high level of confidence to stop impersonation.”
Critics of the left have also urged Musk for his decision to return previously blocked accounts, including former President Trump’s, to Twitter.
— Updated at 2:59 PM