TikTok Poses a Serious National Security Risk

U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
211 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-1700

Dear Senators.

I am writing to brief you on the current state of national security risks posed by the popular social media app TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese big-tech firm ByteDance. The recent drumbeat regarding these risks has reached a fever pitch, with serious concerns being raised by the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee, an FCC Commissioner, and the Director of the FBI.

The 2020 CFIUS order, which prohibits ByteDance’s direct or indirect ownership of the U.S. app and orders divestment of both U.S. user data obtained by TikTok and all property that supported its operations here, remains on the books today. This means that the articulated national security concern about TikTok is the considered judgment of two presidents. Recent news reports indicate that a potential agreement may include storing Americans’ data in the U.S. and independent third parties screening the algorithm, but ByteDance seeks to maintain its ownership of TikTok.

The delay in enforcing the order may be due to the risks being deemed too high without severing ByteDance’s ownership, the hope of avoiding provoking the CCP at a time of strained geopolitics, or pressure to preserve the company’s value through continuity of ownership. However, the delay in implementing interim safeguards and addressing the national security risk is unacceptable, and further delay and potential failure in court is guaranteed if Congress seeks an outright national ban of the app.

Instead, Congress should dedicate its resources to bipartisan oversight and insistence on implementation of the August 14, 2020 CFIUS order, and to legislation endorsing that order’s findings and directives. The President and his national security team need to act in Americans’ interests soon, as deliberation and debate can become equivocation and paralysis, which is not an effective national security strategy.

Thank you for your attention and please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Pesach Lattin
Advanced National Security Agency


Pesach “Pace” Lattin is the original hacker. At 10 years old he took his parents original 8088 XT computer and took it apart and was told that he had to put it together. It took him a few days to figure it out, but within a year he was building computers himself. He also spent much of his time selling computer game copies to his friends at school – making a nice little profit.

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