US Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for an investigation into SpaceX after CEO Elon Musk admitted to blocking Ukraine’s access to Starlink, the company’s satellite internet network. This action was taken to prevent an attack on Russian warships off the coast of Crimea.
Warren, a member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, has demanded that Congress look into the matter and assess the adequacy of tools in ensuring that foreign policy decisions are made by the government rather than by individual billionaires. She has also urged the Department of Defense to review its contractual relationship with SpaceX.
Jack Reed, Chairman of the US Armed Services Committee, has also expressed concerns about the situation. Reed noted that while SpaceX has made positive contributions by lowering the cost of space access, especially for national security launches, it cannot have the final say in matters of national security.
The controversy arose after an excerpt from Musk’s biography, written by Walter Isaacson, revealed that in 2022, Musk secretly ordered the shutdown of Starlink’s satellite connection near the Russian-occupied Crimea. It was done to disrupt a potential Ukrainian attack on the Russian naval fleet in Sevastopol. Musk himself later confirmed that the drone attack on the Russian fleet in Crimea had been prevented.
The issue has attracted attention and will be discussed in a closed-door meeting between tech executives, including Musk, and senators at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Warren’s call for an investigation highlights the need for clarity and transparency in determining the appropriate role of private companies in national security matters.