Mar 7, 2019

Report: Pentagon reviewing Elon Musk's security clearance

Elon Musk. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The federal security clearance for embattled SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is under review by the Pentagon following his public marijuana consumption during in interview last September on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast, reports Bloomberg, citing a U.S. official.

Details: Musk has a security clearance due to his role as founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, which is certified to send military spy satellites to space. The clearance form requires a federal employee or contractor to admit any use of illegal drugs over the previous seven years, the official told Bloomberg.

A SpaceX official told the news outlet that the review has not affected the company and that day-to-day operations are run by Gwynne Shotwell, who's the president and COO.

Yes, but: Axios science editor Andrew Freedman explains that revoking or downgrading his security clearance wouldn't just be embarrassing for Musk, but could pose real problems over time for his work as the CEO of SpaceX. The company has government contracts to launch spy satellites for the Air Force, for example.

Go deeper: SpaceX launch brings the U.S. closer to restoring passenger flights

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.