Democrats Probe Claims of Russian Utilization of Elon Musk’s Starlink

Democrats have focused on X/SpaceX/Tesla chief Elon Musk following his efforts to acquire X (formerly Twitter) and transform it into a platform supporting free speech.

According to the Daily Mail’s report on Thursday, Democrats have initiated an inquiry into allegations suggesting that Musk’s Starlink satellite network poses a significant risk to US national security.

Two Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee have alleged that Musk unlawfully supplied internet connectivity to conflict-affected regions in Ukraine through his SpaceX venture utilizing the Starlink system.

In their letter to Starlink president Gwynne Shotwell, Reps. Jamie Raskin and Robert Garcia expressed concerns regarding the adequacy of guardrails and policies in place.

According to The Washington Post, Democrats claim that Musk may have provided Russia with sensitive security information through the alleged acquisition of satellite-enabled terminals.

Members of the House Oversight Committee referred to statements from Ukrainian intelligence officials, who stated that Russian forces are using Starlink terminals to coordinate military activities in eastern Ukraine.

Commenting on the report, Reps. Raskin and Garcia emphasized the seriousness of Russia’s alleged use of Starlink, citing concerns for Ukraine’s security, lives of Ukrainians, and US national security.

In February, Ukrainian Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov informed the Wall Street Journal that Russian troops had been using the Starlink system for communication purposes “for quite a long time.”

Budanov claimed that Russia obtained access by acquiring terminals from private Russian companies, which had purchased them through intermediaries, allowing the transactions to evade detection.

Starlink administrators clarified that they do not engage in business operations “in or with Russia.”

Musk stated: “A number of false news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. This is categorically false.”

Russia has refuted allegations of utilizing Starlink services. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that “[Starlink] is not a certified system [and] cannot be officially supplied [and]…it cannot be used officially in any way.”

Significantly, Ukraine heavily depends on Starlink for internet and communication support. According to reports, the Pentagon has aided in funding Starlink services for Ukrainians.