Miss. Senator pushes Biden to address potential national security threat.
On Monday, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) joined colleagues to call on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to provide answers about actions the Biden administration is taking to combat the national security risks associated with TikTok, a social media platform developed and owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.
President Trump issued two orders in August 2020 to restrict American access and direct ByteDance to destroy acquired data. President Biden revoked the the first order in June 2021, but the August 14 Presidential Order requiring ByteDance to divest its American assets, property, and data is still in effect.
The Mississippi Senator supported the August 14 order in 2020, after expressing concerns about TikTok’s policies in the past. In 2021, Wicker also sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
The senators said that the Biden Administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation.
“The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year,” the senators wrote. “Instead, news reports indicate TikTok is nearing a deal with a U.S. company to ‘store its U.S. users’ information without its Chinese parent ByteDance having access to it, hoping to address U.S. regulatory concerns.'”
The senators added that the proposed TikTok deal would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated the August 14 order.
“That order was not simply concerned about data, but about a Chinese company’s ownership of a social media platform in America. If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will go unenforced,” the senators concluded.
You can read the letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen below.