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Chairmen Green, Pfluger Request DHS, FBI Briefing on TikTok Security Risks, CCP Malign Influence

January 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) and Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, requesting a briefing on the departments’ work as part of the administration’s ongoing interagency review of TikTok, a mobile application owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance Ltd. With more than 150 million users in the United States, the FBI and other U.S. national security agencies have already raised alarms about the potential that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could use TikTok to threaten U.S. homeland security, censor dissidents, and spread its malign influence on U.S. soil.


Read more in Fox News via Thomas Catenacci.

In the letter, the Chairmen state, “TikTok presents significant security and data privacy concerns. On November 15, 2022, Director Wray, you acknowledged that the FBI has security concerns relating to the usage of TikTok in the United States. You explained that the FBI’s concerns about TikTok ‘include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it [TikTok] to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations.’ You also testified that the Chinese government could use TikTok to ‘control software on millions of devices,’ providing it the opportunity to ‘technically compromise’ those personal devices. Despite expressing these concerns, it is unclear what actions DHS and the FBI have taken to address the PRC’s potential access to data of American users of TikTok.” 
The Chairmen conclude, “The concerns associated with the proliferation of TikTok are real and growing. DHS, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Department of Defense have banned the use of TikTok on official mobile devices due to security concerns. Bans on the use of TikTok are not limited to the United States, as many other countries have imposed various levels of prohibitions as well, due to security and privacy concerns. Over half of the 50 U.S. States have banned TikTok from official government devices. We understand that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency entity that examines foreign investments in the United States for national security implications, is continuing to conduct a review of TikTok. Both DHS and the FBI participate in the CFIUS. The CFIUS review was initiated by the Trump administration and carried forward by the Biden administration. While this review continues, it is also unclear how DHS and the FBI have contributed to this national security review.”
Read the full letter here.