Pentagon denies informing Elon Musk of press inquiries
'I think that's ludicrous,' Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder tells reporters
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Defense Department (DOD) denied Tuesday that is tipping billionaire Elon Musk about journalists’ inquiries about him, one day after a bombshell report chronicled the sweeping influence he wields within the US government.
"Well. Yeah. As a DOD spokesperson. I think that's ludicrous," Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters.
"The anonymous spokesperson is not speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense. That's not the way we do business. We make our own determinations in terms of the release of information to the public. And so that is patently false," he added.
The New Yorker magazine published a lengthy investigative report Monday that appears to depict Musk's growing power within the government, which reportedly includes keeping him appraised of the author's inquiries to the Pentagon about him.
"One Pentagon spokesman said that he was keeping Musk apprised of my inquiries about his role in Ukraine and would grant an interview with an official about the matter only with Musk’s permission. 'We’ll talk to you if Elon wants us to,' he told me," the report alleged.
Musk's influence within the Pentagon has grown dramatically due to his SpaceX company, which has provided invaluable Starlink satellite internet services to Ukraine at the behest of the Biden administration.
That included a personal telephone call from then-Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl who pleaded with Musk last October to continue providing the service after SpaceX said it would no longer foot the bill as the war continued.
Some Ukrainian forces began to lose Starlink access as they advanced into Russian-occupied territories, according to the New Yorker.
The Pentagon needed to lock in an agreement with SpaceX so that, at a minimum, Musk "couldn’t wake up one morning and just decide, like, he didn’t want to do this anymore," one anonymous official told the New Yorker.
“It was kind of a way for us to lock in services across Ukraine. It could at least prevent Musk from turning off the switch altogether," said Kahl.
The saga culminated with Musk tweeting "The hell with it."
"Even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free," he said on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
A deal was eventually reached between the Pentagon and SpaceX in June.
This news has been read 58 times in total