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Report: SpaceX’s NASA Contracts Threatened Over Tesla China Ties

By | August 26, 2020

Elon Musk at SATELLITE 2020. Photo: Via Satellite

Congressional negotiators are considering whether NASA contracts awarded to Elon Musk’s SpaceX represent a potential national security risk due to Chinese financial support for the billionaire owner’s electric car company, Tesla.

“What is there to stop them from going to Musk directly and saying, ‘We’ll call your line of credit early, unless you give us X, Y, or Z?’” said a congressional Republican aide involved in negotiations over the comprehensive legislation governing the space agency. “And, there’s no real clarity that there’s any kind of mechanism that would stop that other than good behavior by an individual.”

The question underscores the suspicion coursing through Washington and Beijing, with national security officials prosecuting an intensifying geopolitical rivalry by economic means. China’s penchant for intellectual property theft has created uncertainty even around federal government contracts awarded to American captains of industry such as Musk, a pioneer of private sector spaceflight and electric cars.

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