Author Walter Isaacson acknowledged a “mistake” in his much-anticipated biography on Elon Musk that came out this week that characterized the tech mogul as putting his finger on the scale in favor of Russia.
Isaacson wrote that Musk suddenly cut off Ukraine’s access to his Starlink internet system, which is operated by SpaceX, ahead of a planned 2022 underwater drone attack on a Russian fleet in Crimea.
“He secretly told his engineers to turn off coverage within 100 kilometers of the Crimean coast,” Isaacson wrote. “As a result, when the Ukrainian drone subs got near the Russian fleet in Sevastopol, they lost connectivity and washed ashore harmlessly.”
Musk countered that was inaccurate in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“The Starlink regions in question were not activated. SpaceX did not deactivate anything,” he wrote. “There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol. The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”
In an appearance Tuesday on “America’s Newsroom,” Isaacson said he “made a mistake” in how he initially characterized Musk’s actions.
“He was talking to me that night as it was happening,” Isaacson relayed to host Bill Hemmer. “He said, ‘we’re not enabling it.’ I thought that means, OK, he shut it off that night. He later said to me, and I’m sure he was right, it had been a policy already in place… That night all he did was reaffirm the policy so that the attack that was going on would not sink the Russian fleet in Crimea. He thought that would be like a Pearl Harbor.”
“Did the book get it wrong? Did you screw that up?” Hemmer asked.
“Well, yeah, I made a mistake in thinking that when he said we’re not enabling it, I thought that was a decision he made that night,” Isaacon said. “He actually made it before that, but I think it’s the same point, which is he decided not to allow Starlink to be used for this offensive attack. The decision had been made earlier than just that night.”
Isaacson, who once ran CNN, also took to social media to “clarify” his story.
“The Ukrainians THOUGHT coverage was enabled all the way to Crimea, but it was not. They asked Musk to enable it for their drone sub attack on the Russian fleet. Musk did not enable it, because he thought, probably correctly, that would cause a major war,” Isaacson wrote.
“Based on my conversations with Musk, I mistakenly thought the policy to not allow Starlink to be used for an attack on Crimea had been first decided on the night of the Ukrainian attempted sneak attack that night,” Isaacson added. “He now says that the policy had been implemented earlier, but the Ukrainians did not know it, and that night he simply reaffirmed the policy.”
On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken whether Musk should face repercussions after he “effectively sabotaged a military operation by Ukraine, a U.S. ally, against Russia, an aggressor country that invaded a U.S. ally.”
Blinken twice declined to criticize Musk, irking the CNN host.
“It sounds like Starlink’s so important, the U.S. government doesn’t want to risk offending a capricious billionaire who did some things that I think in another situation, the U.S. government might want to say something about, but let’s move on,” Tapper said.
Isaacson has previously penned biographies on Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Henry Kissinger and others. He is a professor at Tulane University and was formally the longtime president of the Aspen Institute.
A spokesperson for Simon & Schuster, the publisher of “Elon Musk,” told Fox News Digital that future editions of the book will be updated.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.
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