The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee is currently conducting an investigation into national security concerns regarding Elon Musk’s decision not to activate the Starlink satellite network to support the Ukrainian attack on the Russian fleet near Crimea. The committee, led by chairman Jack Reed, has expressed serious concerns over the potential national security implications of this decision.
According to Reed, the committee is examining the issue from all angles and looking into broader questions surrounding the satellite communications market, government contracts, and the role of Elon Musk and his company in this space. Reed emphasized that neither Musk nor any private citizen should have the final say when it comes to U.S. national security.
Democratic senators Jeanne Shaheen and Elizabeth Warren have also joined in demanding answers from the Defense Department regarding Musk’s authority in determining when Ukraine could use the satellite network. They question why a private citizen was allowed to make such a decision rather than a U.S. government official.
The controversy originated from a situation in 2022, which was revealed in a biographical book about Musk. The book claimed that Musk had instructed his engineers to turn off Starlink off the Crimean coast, disrupting the Ukrainian operation against the Russian navy. Musk, on the other hand, denies this allegation, stating that the network was not activated in the region and that he did not turn it on despite an emergency request from Ukrainian officials. He also cited U.S. sanctions against Russia as a reason for not activating Starlink near Crimea, but stated that he would have done so if directed by U.S. President Joe Biden.
The Senate investigation seeks to clarify the facts surrounding Musk’s decision and to address any potential national security risks posed by this incident.