The FBI has warned Twitter it may have at least one Chinese agent on its payroll, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, summarizing previously undisclosed details of an allegation by Twitter whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko against his former employer.
A previously reported version of Zatko’s whistleblower disclosure — submitted to authorities in July and first reported by CNN and The Washington Post in August — indicated that the US government had provided Twitter with specific information that at least one of its employees, perhaps more, may be working for a foreign intelligence agency.
But that version of the disclosure did not identify which country the suspected agent may have been affiliated with.
"Because of [Zatko’s] disclosures, we’ve learned that personal data from Twitter users was potentially exposed to foreign intelligence agencies,” Grassley said in his opening remarks during a whistleblower hearing involving Zatko on Tuesday. "For example, his disclosures indicate that India was able to place at least two suspected foreign assets within Twitter. His disclosures also note that the FBI notified Twitter of at least one Chinese agent in the company.”
Twitter has not publicly responded to Zatko’s allegations of foreign intelligence compromise, though it has accused Zatko more generally of spreading a “false narrative” about the company.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Grassley's remarks.