UPDATE: Tesla Sues Former Employee For Sabotage And Misinformation
Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to all employees late Sunday night to alert them about ‘extensive and damaging sabotage’
CNBC reported that Musk sent an email to employees early Monday pointing out a factory fire and potential employee sabotage. Then, the news agency received access to an email the CEO sent late Sunday night stating that there was an employee inside Tesla that has been sabotaging operations. Many Tesla employees have confirmed that they did, in fact, receive these emails.
Tesla has now filed a lawsuit against former Gigafactory employee and process technician Martin Tripp. According to CNBC, the suit says Tripp has already:
. . . admitted to writing software that hacked Tesla’s manufacturing operating system (‘MOS’) and to transferring several gigabytes of Tesla data to outside entities.
Included in the data breach were videos of Tesla’s manufacturing processes and highly sensitive photographs, which Tripp reportedly delivered to outsiders via computer code that he was writing on a regular basis. He also led a misinformation campaign, feeding reporters false claims. CNBC’s report of the lawsuit’s language continues:
For example, Tripp claimed that punctured battery cells had been used in certain Model 3 vehicles even though no punctured cells were ever used in vehicles, batteries or otherwise. Tripp also vastly exaggerated the true amount and value of ‘scrap’ material that Tesla generated during the manufacturing process, and falsely claimed that Tesla was delayed in bringing new manufacturing equipment online.
Tripp wasn’t granted a desired promotion at Tesla, which made him act out toward other employees. Eventually, he was reassigned to a different position that pushed him over the edge, turning to sabotage the automaker. You can read the entire lawsuit by clicking the Tweet below:
There is more, but the actions of a few bad apples will not stop Tesla from reaching its goals. With 40,000 people, the worst 1 in 1000 will have issues. That’s still ~40 people.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 20, 2018
Musk explained to his employees that this internal saboteur has used a false username and changed code to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System, as well as exporting significant amounts of highly sensitive data to unknown outside sources. He asked employees to remain extra vigilant over the next few weeks, during the Model 3 production ramp since this is a time that outside forces may be highly motivated to intervene. An investigation is currently underway.
At this point, aside from the email, little details are known. Tesla has not yet commented on the email. The culprit has been identified and has admitted some of his actions. According to Musk, they’re “pretty bad.” The employee said he chose to carry out the actions since he wasn’t promoted. We don’t know if he’s been arrested related to the matter, and Tesla is still trying to determine whether or not he acted alone and to what degree outside sources are involved. We will update this article as new information becomes available.
Below is the entire email via CNBC:
Subject: Some concerning news
June 17, 2018
I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.
The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.
However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations.
As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars. Don’t want to blow your mind, but rumor has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice. Then there are the multitude of big gas/diesel car company competitors. If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?
Most of the time, when there is theft of goods, leaking of confidential information, dereliction of duty or outright sabotage, the reason really is something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole. Occasionally, it is much more serious.
Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us.
If you know of, see or suspect anything suspicious, please send a note to [email address removed for privacy] with as much info as possible. This can be done in your name, which will be kept confidential, or completely anonymously.
Looking forward to having a great week with you as we charge up the super exciting ramp to 5000 Model 3 cars per week!
Will follow this up with emails every few days describing the progress and challenges of the Model 3 ramp.
Thanks for working so hard to make Tesla successful,
Hat tip to FFBJ and Ron M!