FlASH: The Pentagon is reviewing Elon Musk’s federal security clearance following the billionaire’s marijuana toke on a California comedian’s podcast in September
Mr. Musk has refiled his SF-86 security form, which requires a federal employee or contractor seeking a clearance to acknowledge any illegal drug use over the previous seven years, according to the official, who asked not to be identified. The entrepreneur has a Secret-level clearance because of his role as founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which is certified to launch military spy satellites.
A SpaceX official said the review has not had an impact on the company. SpaceX’s day-to-day operations are run by President/COO Gwynne Shotwell. The company has won contracts for national security space launches since Mr. Musk’s podcast incident.
But the refiling and review underscore the continuing ramifications from the chief executive officer’s decision last year to smoke marijuana on the podcast, which quickly went viral.
The event highlights the legal discrepancies between federal and state policy on marijuana use, its use remains a federal crime.
It “totally would make sense” for the Defense Security Service to ask Mr. Musk to update his application and to investigate the situation further.
James Gleeson, a SpaceX spokesman, declined to comment.
Mr. Musk in September sipped whiskey during a podcast of more than 2.5 hours with comedian Joe Rogan in California that touched on topics from flamethrowers and AI to the end of the Universe.
The security refiling may be the least of Mr. Musk’s issues after a tumultuous week in which he got into another dust up with the SEC over his tweets about Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), unveiled cheaper versions of Tesla’s electric vehicles and caught investors by surprise with plans to close auto showrooms.
Mr. Musk’s adjudication review by the Defense Security Service continues with no decision yet.
Typically during an adjudication a person keeps his or her security clearance but loses access to information classified as Secret, according to the official. If the drug use involves minor issues or does not appear to contain any serious security concerns, the unit reviewing the case could just close it and update Mr. Musk’s record.
Nevertheless, there can be serious consequences for breaching security protocols.
Top Defense Security Service officials are aware of Musk’s reapplication and review, said a US official.