- Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an e-mail to all employees on Sunday night alleging there was a saboteur within the company's ranks.
- Musk alleged this employee tweaked code on internal products and sent company data out without authorization.
- Tesla is in the midst of sweeping layoffs and a profitability drive. It is also under pressure to produce 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of this quarter.
Now, CNBC has learned that Musk also sent an e-mail to all employees at Tesla late on Sunday night alleging that he has discovered a saboteur in the company's ranks.
Musk said this person had conducted "quite extensive and damaging sabotage" to the company's operations, including by changing code to an internal product and exporting data to outsiders.
In 2016, after a SpaceX rocket exploded while being fueled up before an engine test, Musk and SpaceX COO and President Gwynne Shotwell also looked into the possibility of sabotage.
Several employees, from different divisions within Tesla, confirmed receipt of the e-mail to CNBC.
Tesla is currently ramping up production to make its previously stated goal of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June. Last week, Tesla announced a broad restructuring, slashing at least 9 percent of its workforce. Workers who are actively involved in Model 3 production would not be affected, the company said.
Tesla declined to comment on the e-mail.
Here's the full email:
From: Elon Musk
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,