Does the Biden Administration Plan to Interfere With Elon Musk Buying Twitter?

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Biden administration is reportedly considering whether the government should conduct national security reviews of Elon Musk’s business ventures. These include his bid to buy social media company Twitter and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite network.

While the true reasons for such a review might not be apparent to some, it could be a way for the state to interfere with the Twitter deal. It would not be surprising given the fact that Musk has repeatedly called out the social media platform for its politically-biased censorship. Given this administration’s history of pressuring Big Tech to suppress views that do not align with Democrats’ favored narratives, it would not be a stretch to assume this would be a way to prevent Twitter from letting up on its censorship efforts.

From Bloomberg:

US officials have grown uncomfortable over Musk’s recent threat to stop supplying the Starlink satellite service to Ukraine — he said it had cost him $80 million so far — and what they see as his increasingly Russia-friendly stance following a series of tweets that outlined peace proposals favorable to President Vladimir Putin. They are also concerned by his plans to buy Twitter with a group of foreign investors.

The discussions are still at an early stage, the people familiar said on condition of anonymity. Officials in the US government and intelligence community are weighing what tools, if any, are available that would allow the federal government to review Musk’s ventures.

The official who spoke with Bloomberg said such a review could happen through laws related to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). This interagency panel is overseen by the Treasury Department and is responsible for reviewing acquisitions of American businesses by foreign buyers. However, it is not clear whether this committee would “offer the government a legal way to conduct a review,” according to the report.

The author continued:

One element of the $44 billion Twitter deal that could trigger a CFIUS review is the presence of foreign investors in Musk’s consortium. The group includes Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Binance Holdings Ltd. — a digital-asset exchange founded and run by a Chinese native — and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

The panel operates behind closed doors and rarely confirms when it is conducting reviews. CFIUS also holds the power to review deals that have already been consummated.

The article also notes that “[t]he panel operates behind closed doors and rarely confirms when it is conducting reviews,” and “holds the power to review deals that have already been consummated.”

The question is: Would this administration dare to use the power of the federal government to stop Musk from buying Twitter?

The very notion would seem absurd on its face. But we live in different times. President Biden has shown he has no problem using the power of his office to pressure companies to censor right-leaning opinions on the internet.

Earlier this year, the White House reportedly requested information from Big Tech platforms regarding the spread of COVID-19 “misinformation.” Then-press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that the administration was flagging online content and asking companies like Facebook and Twitter to censor it. The president even suggested that Facebook was “killing people” for not doing enough to tamp down on opinions regarding the coronavirus and vaccines that were not Democrat-approved.

It was also revealed recently that the federal government is funding the Election Integrity Partnership, a supposedly-nonpartisan organization that works with social media companies to root out misinformation and disinformation being spread on their platforms. The group is known for targeting conservative journalists, outlets, and politicians as spreaders of false information while largely ignoring lies disseminated by left-leaning activist media outlets and Democratic leaders. It’s not exactly beyond the realm of possibility that they would stop Musk from buying Twitter to protect its censorship regime.




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