US Senator Calls for National Security Review of Saudi Stake in Twitter
A Democratic US senator called for a national security review of Saudi Arabia’s ownership stake in Twitter following the takeover of the social media company by entrepreneur Elon Musk. Sen. Chris Murphy said he would ask the Senate Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to “conduct an investigation into the national security implications of Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Twitter.”
Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company and the private office of Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal said in a statement that they will continue their ownership of stock in Twitter following Musk’s purchase of the company for $44 billion. The shares are valued at $1.89 billion, according to the statement dated Friday. The prince and the holding company are jointly the second largest shareholder after Musk. Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Company is 16.9% owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, whose chairman is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, also the country’s crown prince.
“We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in repressing political speech and impacting U.S. politics, are now the second-largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy tweeted on Monday. “There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a review.”
US President Joe Biden earlier this year ordered the release of US intelligence reports that show that the crown prince ordered the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Saudis deny. Khashoggi, who held Saudi citizenship, was killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, to collect documents for his upcoming marriage. Biden then met with the crown prince on a visit to Israeli and Saudi Arabia in July.