The revelations from a former Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR ) executive. turned whistleblower show that at least one Chinese agent is working at the company, Sen. Chuck Grassley said in his opening remarks during a Senate hearing on Tuesday with the whistleblower’s testimony.
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, a famous hacker who was Twitter’s chief of security until he was fired last year, said during the hearing that some Twitter employees were concerned that the Chinese government might collect data about the company’s users.
He referenced a Reuters article on Tuesday that detailed infighting between some teams that wanted to maximize the opportunity for ad revenue from Chinese advertisers and others that were concerned about doing business inside China amid rising geopolitical tensions.
“Bottom line, if we were already in bed, it would be problematic for us to lose that source of income,” Zatko said.
“Their disclosures also indicate that the FBI notified Twitter of the existence of at least one Chinese agent at the company,” Grassley said in his opening statement.
Grassley noted that Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal refused to appear at the hearing out of fear that he could jeopardize the company’s litigation against Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ). Twitter and Musk will go to trial next month over whether the $44 billion takeover deal should go through.
Later on Tuesday, Twitter will also announce the results of the shareholder vote on Musk’s acquisition of the company. Most shareholders have already approved the deal, the sources told Reuters.
The San Francisco-based company sued Musk for terminating the deal, while Tesla’s chief executive countersued, accusing Twitter of misrepresenting the number of fake and spam accounts on its service.
A Delaware judge ruled last week that Musk can include Zatko’s claims in his case against Twitter, but denied his request to delay the trial.