Not very far back in September, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk’s controversial act of smoking pot, drinking whiskey and wielding a sword on comedian Joe Regan’s live web show sparked a Twitter rage, following which his security clearance is under review by the Pentagon, as per a statement made by a US official on Thursday who spoke anonymously.
Now, Musk holds a security clearance because his company SpaceX provides satellite launch services to the US government, but after the Marijuana smoking controversy, it has been put under scrutiny. As per the company schedule, SpaceX was all set to bring back its unmanned capsule from to earth on Friday following a short-term stay on the International Space Station. This was part of NASA’s long-delayed mission to resume human space flight from US territory by this year.
For privacy and security reasons, we do not publicly discuss individual clearance status. – Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman
However, Musk, who is also the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla Inc, has made a reapplication for the 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 Bloomberg report, which said the review has not impacted SpaceX and SpaceX declined to comment on the issue at hand. Tesla refrained from commenting too and The US Air Force said in September that the reports of security clearance were not true.
It is to be noted however that the re-filing and review highlight the implications from Musk’s marijuana smoking on the podcast, showing the legal discrepancies between federal and state policy on marijuana use as, despite many states attempting to decriminalize the use of pot, its use still remains a federal crime as it stands. Musk’s “adjudication” review by the Defence Security Service is yet to reach a resolution as, during an adjudication, a person keeps his or her security clearance but loses access to information classified as secret, as per the US official. But if the drug use entails minor issues or without threat to any serious security concerns, the unit reviewing the clearance case could as well close the case and update Musk’s record.
All the same, the harrowing possibility of serious consequences for breach of security protocols remains.