U.S. national-security officials traveled to Silicon Valley last week to forge deeper ties with big tech companies in hopes of better protecting the 2020 election from foreign intervention. It didn’t go entirely as planned.
At the meeting organized by Facebook Inc. at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Shelby Pierson—named over the summer to lead the U.S. intelligence community’s new election-threats group—delivered a blunt message to the assembled executives: You need to share more data with us about your users.
The executives and other U.S. officials in the room were caught off guard by Ms. Pierson’s assertion, according to people in attendance or briefed on the conversation. After a tense moment, another official explained that privacy law limited what social-media platforms could hand over to spy agencies.
A Twitter Inc. executive then offered a rebuke: The Trump administration was failing to share enough information with tech firms about election threats, not the other way around, the executive told the room.