Statement from Debra S. Katz and Alexis Ronickher, Attorneys for Peiter (“Mudge”) Zatko
Washington, DC – Today, The Washington Post and CNN reported that our client, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission alleging that Twitter executives deceived federal regulators and the company’s own board of directors about “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its defenses against hackers and its “meager efforts to fight spam,” among other issues.
In response to this public reporting, Twitter issued a statement claiming that it fired Mr. Zatko for “ineffective leadership and poor performance.” This of course is false. We are issuing this statement on Mr. Zatko’s behalf to correct the record.
Mr. Zatko repeatedly raised concerns about Twitter’s grossly inadequate information security systems to the Company’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors throughout his tenure. The situation escalated in the last quarter of 2021, when the Board’s Risk Committee was presented with information that whitewashed the problematic state of the Company’s Information Security posture. Mr. Zatko repeatedly objected to the misrepresentations and pressed concerns about the dire state of the Company’s information security posture to Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer, Parag Agrawal, and to the Head of the Risk Committee, Omid Kordestani.
On January 19, 2022, a mere two weeks after Mr. Zatko clashed with Mr. Agrawal and Mr. Kordestani about these issues, Twitter abruptly terminated his employment.
Today, Twitter issued a statement impugning Mr. Zatko’s motivations, claiming that he is “opportunistically seeking to inflict harm on Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders.” Again, we must correct the record.
Mr. Zatko was tasked with identifying Twitter’s serious security vulnerabilities and addressing issues ranging from information security to misinformation which impacted users, shareholders and the public at large. In reporting these concerns internally and then to federal agencies and officials, their interests were always paramount. Mr. Zatko put his career on the line because of his concerns about Twitter users, the public, and the company’s shareholders.