Twitter’s former security chief, Peiter Zatko, appeared at a Senate hearing last week and made new accusations against his previous employer. He claimed Twitter had a Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) agent on its payroll.
A buyout offer by billionaire Elon Musk has now turned into a big legal battle between him, Twitter, and a former employer who served as the security chief. Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko already said that the company has lied about its security measures, and a judge allowed Musk’s lawyers to use these claims as a part of their complaint. Later, Musk’s lawyers intended to use Twitter’s severance payment to Zatko as a way to pull out of the deal.
These endless accusations made the Senate hold a hearing meeting with Peiter Zatko. The Senate is reportedly worrying about Twitter’s security measures affecting US national security. However, they’ve now come up with a Chinese MSS agent that has been on Twitter’s payroll.
Twitter reportedly had a Chinese security agent on its payroll
Sen. Chuck Grassley said the FBI had noticed the social platform about having a Chinese agent in the company. Zatko also noted that during his time in the company, he has encountered “one or more” employees who were “working on behalf of another particular foreign intelligence agency.”
According to Zatko, he had warned about the issue “maybe a week” before his dismissal. “I had been told because the corporate security/physical security team had been contacted and told that there was at least one agent of the MSS, which is one of China’s intelligence services on the payroll inside Twitter,” Zatko said.
China is reportedly not the only country that has its agents on Twitter. Zatko claims even Indian agents are working on Twitter. Of course, this is not the first time that Twitter has been accused of having foreign agents in the company. A former Twitter employee was convicted for collaborating with Saudi Arabia and disclosing sensitive information.
Zatko raised even more concerns, saying, “It’s not far-fetched to say that an employee inside the company could take over the accounts of all of the senators in this room.”
The US senators wrote a letter to CEO Parag Agrawal and invited him to a hearing meeting. However, Senator Grassley said Agrawal had “refused to appear” because “it would jeopardize Twitter’s ongoing litigation Mr. Musk.”