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Elon Musk warns employees about a saboteur in late-night email

The saboteur allegedly made off with vast amounts of Tesla data and altered the code of Tesla's in-house operating system in Fremont.


They say that you can't make omelette without breaking a few eggs, and apparently you can't run an electric car company in America without making a pile of potential enemies. At least, that seems to be the case for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, based on a company-wide email sent in the middle of the night and acquired by CNBC.

The email, which was sent following an internal investigation into a recent fire at the paint shop at Tesla's Fremont, California factory, warns employees of damage caused by a saboteur who, in addition to logging into Tesla's proprietary manufacturing operating system and adding damaging code, seems to have exported vast amounts of sensitive data to unknown parties.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned employees against an alleged industrial saboteur that made off with sensitive Tesla data.

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Now, this would be troubling for any company, and any CEO would certainly have a lot on their mind in a similar situation, but Musk being Musk, he decided to start wildly speculating in his email as to who the saboteur's true masters may have been. Honestly, it makes him sound a little… well, paranoid.

Now playing: Watch this: Elon Musk email reveals employee 'sabotage' at Tesla

The organizations Musk believes could be responsible include Wall Street short-sellers, the petrochemical industry and traditional automotive manufacturers. "If they're willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they're willing to cheat in other ways?" he says in the email. 

Musk adds that the culprit's stated motivations is "he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move."

It will be interesting to see if this leak has any actual effect on the company as it pushes toward its goal of 5,000-6,000 Model 3s per week by the end of the quarter.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on this story.

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