U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio warned the CIA on Thursday not to join TikTok.
Rubio wrote CIA Director William Burns, urging him to take a stand amid reports the intelligence agency may be late-adopters of the TikTok platform. Rubio contends TikTok is a trojan horse for Chinese intelligence.
“Instead of devoting precious national security resources on a misguided agenda, the CIA should be focused on the most pressing challenges of our time, including threats from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), Putin’s Russia, the Iranian regime, and terrorist networks growing more dangerous due to the Biden Administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal,” Rubio wrote. “As such, I request that you explicitly reject the reported comments of the CIA’s social media team and confirm that the agency will not be joining TikTok, or any other high-risk foreign app.”
In the letter, Rubio reminded Burns of the ties between the Chinese government and ByteDance, which owns TikTok.
“We cannot pretend that TikTok and other Chinese-owned companies are not beholden to the CCP,” Rubio wrote.
The Senator noted Chinese law gives “intelligence officials the right to enter privately-owned commercial facilities, examine private records, investigate and question personnel, and access or even seize communications equipment owned by companies or individuals.”
The letter continues a series of grave concerns from Rubio about the platform.
In July, Rubio urged President Joe Biden to block TikTok completely in light of the Chinese government taking an ownership stake in the company.
“Beijing’s aggressiveness makes clear that the regime sees TikTok as an extension of the party-state, and the U.S. needs to treat it that way,” Rubio wrote Biden earlier this summer.
However, Rubio’s concerns go back farther than that.
A group of Republican senators including Rubio and colleague Rick Scott warned last year the technology could tip the 2020 presidential election.
The Florida duo, along with Republican Senate colleagues Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Kevin Cramer and Joni Ernst, wrote Donald Trump administration officials with grave concerns that “the Chinese Communist Party could use its control over TikTok to distort or manipulate conversations to sow discord among Americans and to achieve its preferred political outcomes.”