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Twitter whistleblower testifies in Senate over claims of security failures

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Peter Zatko spent a little more than a year as the head of Twitter's security operation before he was fired in January for speaking out about issues of concern to him. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Peter Zatko spent a little more than a year as the head of Twitter's security operation before he was fired in January for speaking out about issues of concern to him. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The man at the center of a whistleblower case against Twitter testified before Congress on Tuesday as part of an investigation into what he said were "egregious deficiencies" within the social media company.

Former Twitter security chief Peter "Mudge" Zatko appeared before the Senate judiciary committee, which is concerned that there might be national security issues.

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Zatko has said that Twitter's vulnerabilities when he was there compromised users' personal data and potentially exposed operational technology to espionage by hiring workers who could have been foreign agents.

Zatko also said Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal had covered up security failures from federal regulators and the company's board.

RELATED Twitter says whistleblower case has no bearing on deal with Elon Musk

Zatko spent a little more than a year as the head of Twitter's security operation before he was fired in January for speaking out about the issues.

Twitter has denied the accusations and noted that Zatko was fired following a below-average performance review. The company has said that Zatko's claims are "riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies."

Zatko's testimony on Tuesday could eventually lead to other congressional investigations into the matter, with possible criminal implications.

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The whistleblower case has been a centerpiece in Twitter's lawsuit against billionaire Elon Musk, which is seeking to hold Musk to his agreement to buy the social platform for $44 billion.

Musk said in April he was buying the company -- but abandoned the deal weeks later in July because he says Twitter won't give him data on monetizable accounts that are phony or "bot" accounts. Twitter has also denied that accusation.

The trial between Twitter and Musk is scheduled to begin next month.

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Last week, the judge presiding over the case allowed Musk to present evidence pertaining to the whistleblower at the trial in Delaware to settle the matter.

Musk cites the whistleblower case as proof that Twitter misled him and shareholders about security shortfalls at the company.

Twitter shareholders were scheduled to take a vote on Tuesday on whether to approve the sale to Musk.

RELATED Reports: Twitter whistleblower describes chaotic environment, FTC violations

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