Whistleblower: Twitter Employed a Chinese Spy, Endangering Private User Data

Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko is sworn in for a Senate Judiciary hearing examining da
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

A member of China’s intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), was on the payroll at Twitter, according to testimony from a whistleblower appearing before Congress today. The whistleblower also testified that the company didn’t care about having foreign spies working within its walls, with one executive telling him, “Well, since we already have one, what does it matter if we have more?”

Peiter Zatko, who until recently served as Twitter’s head of security, also said there were concerns inside the company that the Chinese government could collect data on the platform’s users as it sought business from Chinese advertisers.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (Google Cloud/YouTube)

BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 01: The Guard of Honor of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) escorts the Chinese national flag during a flag-raising ceremony at Tian'anmen Square on China's Army Day on August 1, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

(Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

In his testimony, Zatko revealed that he learned about a Chinese intelligence agent on the company payroll a week before his firing from the company.

Via Reuters:

Zatko said on Tuesday that in the week before he was fired from Twitter, he learned an agent of China’s Ministry of State Security, or MSS, an agency comparable to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, was on the payroll at Twitter.

It was not immediately clear if the alleged Chinese agent was still working at the company.

In his testimony, Zatko said he recalled a conversation with another Twitter executive about concerns that a foreign agent was inside the company. The executive responded “Well, since we already have one, what does it matter if we have more?”

Chinese espionage inside American problems remains a major security threat in the U.S., with Chinese agents and hackers particularly focused on stealing American intellectual property. As of 2019, the FBI had nearly a thousand open cases of Chinese intellectual property theft. A recent report revealed that Chinese hackers have stolen trillions worth of intellectual property from multinational corporations.

The news about a Chinese agent inside Twitter comes a little over a month after a former employee of the company was convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.



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