Twitter hunts for documents showing possible connection between Elon Musk and former executive turned whistleblower Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko

Peiter Zatko (left) and Elon Musk. Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Zatko accused Twitter of lax security measures and other missteps during his time as a top manager.
He also sided with Elon Musk by claiming that "bots" are not properly quantified on the platform.
Twitter now wants to know if Zatko was previously involved with Musk or his allies.
A former Twitter exec recently turned whistleblower, denouncing the company's allegedly lax security and stating that it actually has a problem with the way it quantifies fake or spam accounts, just like Elon Musk said. Now Twitter wants to know if the executive has any connection to the billionaire.
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As part of the ongoing lawsuit that Twitter has filed against Musk to force him to acquire the platform for a previously agreed $44 billion, it recently asked Musk and his attorneys to stop all communications between them and the various parties involved have agreed to establish financing for his acquisition and Pieter "Mudge" Zatko. Zatko served as Twitter's chief information security officer for about a year and filed a whistleblower disclosure against the company with Congress in July.
Judge Kathleen McCormick, who is leading the Delaware lawsuit, on Thursday ordered Musk's side to provide at least some of the documents requested by Twitter on Zatko as a condition of his attorneys being able to amend their own complaint against Twitter for a second time.
"Plaintiff's motion that the court allow the amendment subject to the conditions relating to discovery of the alteration is reasonable," Justice McCormick said.
The additional discovery that Twitter is requesting in connection with Zatko includes "all communications" and "all documents reflecting, relating to, or summarizing such communications" from December 2021 to August 2022 between Musk, his agents, advisers, lenders or co -Investors and Zatko. It also calls for the same volume of communications from the same parties and timeframe "relating" to Zatko and his whistleblowing disclosures, as well as a response to a form asking the parties if Musk or anyone working for him works, did so work for or “received information” from Zatko between November 2020 and August 2022.
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Judge McCormick said she will decide how much of the discovery to turn over after a hearing on the matter scheduled for next week. The case is scheduled to go to court the week of October 17.
Representatives from Twitter and Musk could not be immediately reached for comment.
In his whistleblower disclosure and subsequent public appearance before Congress, Zatko claimed that Twitter's technical and security protocols were so flawed that it employed foreign agents and prevented him from fully reporting his findings to the company's board of directors to submit. He also openly sided with Musk and his claims that Twitter is hosting more "bots," or fake accounts that it is disclosing publicly. A section of Zatko's disclosure is titled "Lying about Bots to Elon Musk" and accuses Twitter of misrepresenting how it counts and fights spam accounts, saying "Elon Musk is right."
Lawyers for Zatko previously told CNN he had no contact with Musk.
Twitter has dismissed Zatko's claims, saying he was fired over performance issues. The company now appears curious as to whether Zatko had any prior relationships with Musk, his attorneys, or the nearly 20 parties that agreed to fund his acquisition. External financiers of the acquisition include Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
Musk's attorneys have opposed providing such notices, Judge McCormick said. First they argued that the filing was late, then denied the involvement of Morgan Stanley, Musk's personal lender, then said they had "no reason to believe" such documents existed, then said the filing was "unreasonably burdensome". The judge asked Musk's attorneys to clarify what, if anything, they would submit regarding Zatko before next week's hearing.
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