March 7, 2019 / 7:33 PM / in a month

SpaceX CEO Musk's security clearance under review over pot use: official

SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks at a post-launch press conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifted off on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk’s security clearance is being reviewed by the Pentagon after the billionaire smoked marijuana on a California comedian’s podcast in September, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

An incident report was started by the Pentagon some time after the marijuana event, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The review was first reported by Bloomberg.

Musk has a security clearance as SpaceX provides satellite launch services to the U.S. government. An unmanned capsule from the company was due to return to earth on Friday after a short-term stay on the International Space Station, part of NASA’s long-delayed quest to resume human space flight from U.S. soil later this year.

“For privacy and security reasons, we do not publicly discuss individual clearance status,” said Lieutenant Colonel Mike Andrews, a Pentagon spokesman.

Musk, who is also the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla Inc, has refiled his SF-86 security form, which requires a federal employee or contractor seeking a clearance to acknowledge any illegal drug use over the previous seven years, according to the Bloomberg report, which said the review has not impacted SpaceX.

The U.S. Air Force in September said reports that it was reviewing his security clearance were inaccurate.

In September, Musk provoked a Twitter storm by smoking pot, drinking whiskey and wielding a sword on a live web show with comedian Joe Rogan.

SpaceX declined to comment. Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The electric carmaker’s shares pared gains and were lower in late afternoon trading.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Mike Stone in Washington; editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Bill Rigby

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