Twitter whistleblower is not surprised by allegation that Chinese intelligence agent was working at the company

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, a former Twitter employee, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, replied to a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, about how he heard of the allegation that the FBI had alerted the company that a Chinese intelligence agent was employed there.

Video transcript

CHUCK GRASSLEY: In your disclosure, you mentioned that the FBI notified Twitter that one of their employees was suspected of being a Chinese foreign asset. Were you and others at Twitter at all surprised by that?

PEITER ZATKO: This was made aware to me maybe a week before I was surprised and summarily dismissed. I had been told because the corporate security physical security team had been contacted and told that there was at least one agent of the MSS, which is one of China's intelligence services, on the payroll inside Twitter.

While it was disturbing to hear, I and many others had-- recognizing the state of the environment at Twitter, were really thinking, if you are not placing foreign agents inside Twitter because it's very difficult to detect them, it is very valuable to a foreign agent to be inside there. As a foreign intelligence company, you're most likely not doing your job.