US Senate Investigates Musk's Refusal to Grant Ukraine's Starlink Request
The US Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating national security concerns arising from Elon Musk's decision not to expand the private satellite network, Starlink, to assist Ukraine in countering Russian military ships off the coast of Crimea.
This information is reported by Bloomberg.
Committee Chairman Jack Reed stated in a press release on Thursday that reports of Starlink usage have raised "serious questions of responsibility regarding national security, and the committee is examining this issue."
"We are aggressively looking into this from all angles," he added.
SpaceX, headed by Musk, has also become a major contractor for the US government, launching spy satellites for the Department of Defense and operating the Starlink network.
Reed stated that the committee will be looking into the broader satellite communications market, government contracts, and the "outsize role that Mr. Musk and his company play here."
Reed and other Democratic senators on the committee, including Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have demanded answers from the Department of Defense regarding why Elon Musk, rather than a US government official, decided when Ukraine could utilize the satellite network.
"Neither Elon Musk nor any private citizen gets to have the last word when it comes to US national security," Reed emphasized.
Earlier this week, Musk stated on the All-In Podcast that he would have extended Starlink to Ukrainians in Crimea if President Joe Biden had instructed him to do so, but no such directive was given.
In the podcast, Musk explained that Starlink was initially turned off in Crimea due to US sanctions against Russia.
At the time of Ukraine's request last year, Musk was not receiving any US funding for Starlink operations in Ukraine, though it is now supported by Pentagon funds.
Shaheen and Warren plan to send a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requesting details about Starlink's operations and Musk's involvement in Ukraine, according to a congressional aide who wished to remain anonymous. The committee has not yet initiated an official investigation but is gathering information.
As reported by The Gaze, American billionaire Elon Musk decided to transfer control of a portion of the Starlink satellite communication network from his company SpaceX to the Pentagon for its use in Ukraine's war against Russia. This decision was made to avoid further responsibility for the network's operation and rules of use.