Rubio knocks CIA over consideration of TikTok presence

Rubio knocks CIA over consideration of TikTok presence
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Democrats face bleak outlook in Florida The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit MORE (R-Fla.) knocked the CIA on Thursday over reports that the agency was considering establishing a presence on TikTok, which has faced scrutiny from lawmakers over its ties to China.

Rubio in a letter urged CIA Director William BurnsWilliam BurnsCIA chief team member reported 'Havana syndrome' symptoms during trip to India: report Overnight Hillicon Valley — Hacking goes global Rubio knocks CIA over consideration of TikTok presence MORE to “commit that the CIA will not join TikTok, or any other social media platform that poses a serious threat to U.S national security as well as to Americans’ user data and privacy.”

The letter from Rubio, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, comes a day after a spokesperson for the CIA told Politico that joining TikTok was a possibility as the agency seeks to boost its social media footprint and help recruit people. However the spokesperson acknowledged the risk that China posed.


“With TikTok, obviously, there's the Chinese risk,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson later clarified to Politico that the agency had no plans to join the platform.

Asked about Rubio’s letter, a CIA spokesperson told The Hill “CIA has no plans to join TikTok.”

TikTok has come under fire from lawmakers over its ties to the Chinese government. It was reported earlier in August that the Chinese Communist Party took a stake and a board seat in TikTok parent company ByteDance in April.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE went after TikTok for its connections with the Chinese government, filing an executive order to ban the app in 2020. President BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE revoked the order in June.


In his letter, Rubio told Burns that it is the CIA’s duty to "protect our nation and safeguard American interests.” He added that members of the Chinese Communist Party had more than 130 committee members in managerial positions at the Beijing offices of ByteDance.

Rubio said the agency “should be warning about the risks associate with TikTok, and other foreign apps developed in authoritarian surveillance states, not normalizing them.”

“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,” he wrote.