A recent report in the Wall Street Journal that Elon Musk uses ketamine at parties could prompt an investigation into his security clearance, two attorneys who specialize in national security law told Insider.
The billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla has a history of running afoul of the rigid standards that the federal government applies to defense contractors, specifically around drug use. The Defense Department reviewed Musk’s clearance in 2019, Bloomberg and CNBC reported, after he appeared to smoke marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
The Journal reported last month that Musk “microdoses ketamine for depression, and he also takes full doses of ketamine at parties,” citing people who witnessed Musk taking the drug as well as people with “direct knowledge” of his use. While Musk did not comment directly on the report, he has since Tweeted approvingly of ketamine use to treat depression. Insider has not independently confirmed the Journal’s reporting.
Drug use is typically grounds for the government to yank someone’s security clearance, the two national security attorneys told Insider. While the government has lightened up in recent years on the use of marijuana, it takes ketamine, a hallucinogen, seriously, they said.
Dan Meyer, a national security attorney at Tully Rinckey’s DC office, and Alan Edmunds, whose firm specializes in fighting security clearance denials and revocations, both said they would expect the federal agency in charge of security clearances to open an investigation into Musk in the wake of the Journal report.
In the government’s view, “someone who takes a cavalier approach to drug use may take a cavalier approach to the handling of classified information,” Meyer said.
Bloomberg reported in 2019 that Musk had been granted a security clearance in connection with SpaceX’s contract to launch spy satellites into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office. SpaceX also has contracts with the Air Force and NASA. Earlier this year, a SpaceX rocket launched a classified payload for the Space Force.