Opinion | Reports of Elon Musk’s drug use are a problem for the government


There are many reasons why the U.S. government tests prospective employees for illegal drug use. Because those who violate drug laws are more vulnerable to extortion, and because drugs can lead workers to act recklessly, and simply because rules are rules. All of this also applies to lower-level employees and contractors with comparable roles. So why not the world’s richest man, whose stray words can move markets and upend foreign conflicts?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Elon Musk’s alleged preference for LSD, cocaine, mushrooms, and ketamine. (He previously said he had one last prescription in hand.) The billionaire once took a puff of marijuana on commentator Joe Rogan’s podcast, but illicit drugs are frequently consumed. That’s old and small news compared to reports that there are. The magazine reports that many members of Tesla’s board of directors are nervous. However, it is the government that should be most concerned.

Mr. Musk owns or leads multiple companies, each of which has an impact on American lives and the country. But it’s his leadership at SpaceX that poses particularly serious problems. Of the approximately 8,000 satellites currently in the sky, more than 4,500 are Starlink satellites launched by Musk’s SpaceX. The goal is to send out nearly 10 times that number in the near future. This high concentration allows communication even in remote areas and flashpoints around the world.

Starlink has become an integral part of the Ukraine war, subjecting the country’s fight for survival to Mr. Musk’s sometimes unhelpful whims. A similar scenario could occur in future conflicts. The undersea cables connecting Taiwan to the world’s communications systems are vulnerable, and Starlink could be critical to repelling an invasion. But Musk stands to lose by alienating China. Last month, more than half of Tesla’s electric cars delivered around the world were assembled at the company’s Shanghai factory.

By the way, Starlink’s newly announced StarShield program will build and launch sites that specifically meet the objectives of government customers, including the Department of Defense. Currently, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is NASA’s only vehicle to transport crews to the International Space Station. The Starship megarocket is key to the agency’s Artemis 3 mission, which aims to return humans to the moon. Meanwhile, Tesla and its manifold charging stations are critical infrastructure for the energy transition.

It’s alarming that a private individual can wield so much economic and political influence, but it’s even more alarming when that individual has a propensity for erratic behavior, as Musk has. and even more frightening if the individual is abusing drugs. He’s even more unstable. Additionally, the drug use reported by the Journal likely violates a number of expensive federal contracts signed by SpaceX, the paper said. SpaceX collected more than $2.8 billion in government contracts in one year, according to the information.

These rules must be consistently enforced. But Musk has flouted the rules throughout his career with little consequence.

Remember in 2018 when he moved the market with his inaccurate tweet (joking) that he had “secured funding” to take Tesla private at $420 a share? For Musk, the fine was comparable to a parking ticket. In 2022, he was 11 days late in declaring that he owned a significant stake in Twitter Inc., during which time he bought the stock, and his inaction netted him $156 million. Recently, a Florida judge ruled that Musk knew about flaws in Tesla’s EV Autopilot system but chose to ignore it, resisting marketing it as a “self-driving” car that can’t actually drive itself. It found “reasonable evidence” that there was no such thing. . The ruling allowed the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the accident victim’s widow to proceed. (Tesla denies negligence.)

After the episode with Mr. Logan, NASA began random drug testing of SpaceX employees. Mr. Musk, who holds classified information that gives him access to classified information, claims he has also been tested and the results came back negative. If true, that’s a good thing. As those close to him say his drug use should continue to be monitored. If the reports are confirmed, the agency should at least consider whether it would be wise to renew the contract or contract with another agency.

“Whatever you do, of course you should keep doing it!” Musk tweeted This week, in response to the latest allegations. Does this country really need such a creative thinker that it should give this man that much leeway? This country seems to be betting much of its future in communications, transportation, and exploration on one man: the capricious and careless Mr. Musk. All the more the government wants to avoid re-establishing this kind of dependency.

Poster’s opinion | About the editorial board

Editorials represent the views of the Post as an institution, determined through discussion among editorial board members, and are independent of the newsroom and based in our opinion section.

Editorial board members: Opinion Editor-in-Chief David Shipley, Opinion Associate Editor Charles Lane, Opinion Associate Editor Stephen Stromberg, and writers Mary Duenwald and Christine Emba. Shadi Hamid, David E. Hoffman, James Homan, Heather Long, Miri Mitra, Eduardo Porter, Keith B. Richburg, Molly Roberts.





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