OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Elon Musk’s X of a ban on disclosing the number of times federal authorities sought to put Americans and foreign nationals under surveillance using the platform.
Formerly known as Twitter, X attorneys argued that the federal government’s ban on the company’s bid at transparency in revealing the number of times the platform received national security-related requests for surveillance of users was unconstitutional and should only be provided in rare, exceptional cases.
The nation’s highest court did not explain why justices refused to accept the appeal in the 10-year-old case. Also, it is not known how many justices would have voted to take the case.
“The decision leaves in place a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that restrictions on free speech related to receiving requests for surveillance related to national security concerns are not subject to certain procedural requirements that mandate judicial review,” CNBC reported.
“X’s lawsuit had sought the right to publicly reveal the exact number of times in six months it received a national security order requesting information about users,” the report added.
A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., revealed in August that special counsel Jack Smith obtained a search warrant for the then-Twitter account of former President Donald Trump at the start of 2023 as part of his investigation.
Initially, X delayed handing over the materials Smith sought via the warrant and instead filed a sealed court challenge that sought to block an order that barred the company from informing Trump or anyone else about the existence of the warrant.
The company was summarily fined $350,000 by a federal judge for contempt in failing to comply with a deadline to hand over the materials, CNBC said.
The D.C. Court of Appeals, in turn, rejected a bid by X to overturn the contempt ruling and the nondisclosure order. X attorneys argued that the order violated the company’s First Amendment right to communicate with subscriber Trump.
In November, Musk made headlines again when he accused President Joe Biden of “sleepwalking” into World War III.
During the online event hosted by David Sacks and featuring 2024 GOP presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy, Musk deadpanned that the U.S. “should try to avoid that if at all possible.”
“Let’s just say that for there to be a global conflict, a World War Three, you have to have two superpower alliances where one cannot easily defeat the other. And that is the case,” he said, noting that U.S. policy under President Joe Biden is driving Russia and China closer together.
“And that, I think, is a massive shift in thinking that most people do not understand. Most people on this call may understand, but most do not. I think we want to try to avoid that,” he added. “I hope it is not something that the tides of history are simply going to sweep us in that direction because there is a strong argument that these things are unavoidable and the tides of history will sweep us in that direction whether we like it or not. But we should try to avoid that if at all possible.”
He noted further: “Unfortunately, our policy has been forcing Russia and Iran to ally with China; it’s been forcing them. What choice have we given them?”
He went on to speculate that together, Russia and China are formidable.
“Russia has the raw materials, and China has the industrial capacity. It’s, frankly, a perfect match from a war standpoint. So I think we need to stop doing that. It’s unwise, and I think it will lead to an immense risk to civilization,” he said.