A retired Department of Homeland Security agent who claims to have worked as a “security expert” for Elon Musk at SpaceX was one of five men indicted as part of an alleged scheme to discredit critics of the Chinese government in the US, court documents have revealed. week.
Derrick Taylor, a 60-year-old man who now works as a private investigator in Irvine, Calif., was charged for his links to what the Fed described as a “transnational crackdown scheme to silence critics of the People’s Republic of China and the United States. “
Taylor is accused of destroying evidence and lying to investigators when faced with allegations that he accessed and distributed confidential information from a restricted federal database related to dissidents living in the US. The data that included his passport information, residences, flight records and photographs, according to court documents.
Taylor’s private investigation firm’s website noted that he worked for “twenty-five years as a federal agent for the Department of Homeland Security” — and publicizes his alleged previous work to Musk in an attempt to entice new clients to pay for his services.
“Following my tenure at DHS, I served three years as Elon Musk’s personal security specialist at SpaceX,” Taylor’s description reads. “I specialize in asset and bank account searches, background searches, criminal and civil investigations. My company is based in Irvine and I serve the entire state of California.”
The website does not detail the nature of the work he allegedly performed for the billionaire. The claim is also included on Taylor’s LinkedIn page.
SpaceX is headquartered in Hawthorne, California – just a short drive from Taylor’s base in Irvine. Musk founded SpaceX and remains the company’s president and CEO.
SpaceX operates the “Starlink” satellite internet service and is a federal contractor that frequently collaborates with NASA as part of its ongoing space exploration plans — including Musk’s long-term bid to get to Mars.
The Post could not independently confirm the allegations of Taylor’s employment by Musk or SpaceX.
Taylor’s LinkedIn page notes that he began working as a private investigator in January 2018. He left DHS in September 2011 after more than 21 years of service.
SpaceX representatives did not return The Post’s multiple requests for comment. Attempts to reach Musk’s camp were not immediately successful.
A man who responded to Derrick declined to comment when contacted by the cell phone number listed on the website of Taylor’s company, DBM Private Investigator.
“Talk to you later. I don’t have a comment as of right now,” he said before hanging up.
Craig Miller, a longtime federal agent working with DHS emergency relief operations in Minneapolis, was indicted alongside Taylor in new filings Thursday.
The other three individuals – Fan “Frank” Liu, 62, of Jericho, New York, Matthew Ziburis, 49, of Oyster Bay and Qiang “Jason” Sun, 40, of China, were previously indicted in March. They are accused of persecuting and spying on US-based dissidents on behalf of the Chinese government.
The feds say Miller admitted under cross-examination that he provided the confidential information from the restricted database to Taylor in exchange for a gift card. Taylor allegedly shared the information with a “co-conspirator” who was working with Lui.
Taylor initially claimed that he obtained the information from the dark web.
“Liu, Ziburis and Sun used this information to harass and harass these US residents while acting on behalf of the PRC government,” the DOJ said in a press release.
Taylor is charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI. He faces 25 years in prison. The DOJ said Taylor and the other defendants “will be indicted at a later date.”
“As charged, these individuals have aided agents of a foreign government in an attempt to suppress dissenting voices that have taken refuge here,” Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security Matthew G. Olsen said in a statement.
“The defendants include two sworn officers who chose to abandon their oaths and violate the law. This indictment is the next step in holding all these defendants accountable for their crimes,” added Olsen.