By Matt Egan
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy is calling on the federal government to investigate national security concerns raised by Saudi Arabia’s role in Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal helped Musk fund the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter (TWTR) by renewing his $1.9 billion existing stake in the social media company. This decision makes Saudi entities the second largest shareholder of Twitter, behind Musk himself.
“We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in suppressing political speech and impacting American politics, are now the second largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy said. in a press release. Tweeter In Monday.
The Connecticut Democrat urged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, to investigate the “national security implications” of the Saudi involvement. CIFUS, an interagency committee chaired by the US Treasury Department, reviews takeovers of US companies by foreign buyers and has the ability to block transactions that raise concerns.
Even though Musk already closed its takeover from Twitter at the end of last week, it could still be subject to national security review.
According to the annual CFIUS 2021 report in Congress, the panel has the power to “review ongoing or completed transactions” if a member of the committee believes there are national security concerns.
“There is a clear national security issue at play and CFIUS should do a review,” Murphy said, noting that another major social media platform, TikTok, is owned by a Chinese company. “It’s a dangerous trend, and we don’t have to accept it.”
The White House and Treasury Department declined to comment in response to Murphy’s call.
Earlier this month, Twitter shares plummeted after Bloomberg News Biden officials reported that they were already discussing subjecting some of Musk’s businesses to national security reviews, including the Twitter deal.
However, US officials pushed back against this report. “We are now aware of such conversations,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement Oct. 21.
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