Elon Musk called any advance posting of his travel plans a “security issue” after Tesla insider Sawyer Merritt tweeted that Musk planned to travel to Germany, and then deleted the tweet.
When someone posted that he was likely to travel to Germany “later this week,” he was quicker to deny that he planned to travel to Germany in January than that he planned to ride around in a Model Y.
Tesla plans to open Gigafactory Berlin soon despite repeated delays, most of them related to regulatory red tape and environmentalists’ lawsuits. Rumors have circulated that Elon Musk might spice things up by attending the opening. Musk is known for putting on a show at events like “AI Day” and “Battery Day,” along with using the events to make important announcements like Tesla’s plans for a humanoid robot.
Finally getting Gigafactory Berlin open would enable Tesla to start moving away from importing vehicles from Gigafactory Shanghai in China for sale in the European market. Relations between Tesla and China have occasionally been tense despite Tesla’s attempts to placate the Chinese government through moves like establishing a datacenter in China.
Trackers can post updates on Musk’s likely travel based on the location of his private jet, a Gulfstream G650ER. Followers of Elon Musk-related news expressed concern that these trackers could put Musk and his family at risk. One follower suggested that he could obscure his itinerary (and location) simply by making sure his jet is where he isn’t when he wasn’t using it. (Plus, how sweet would it be to spend time on Elon Musk’s jet?)
Like many high-profile individuals, Musk has his share of enemies. These enemies include politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren, who ran ads on Facebook attacking Elon Musk and asking for campaign donations. Musk may be concerned that powerful enemies like Warren could inspire their supporters to cause trouble.
That trouble could include “lone wolf” incidents like the gunman who critically injured Gabby Giffords in 2011 and the gunman who attacked the Republicans’ practice session for the annual Congressional baseball game in 2017.
Actual security incidents targeting Tesla include a suspected case of arson at Gigafactory Berlin that an environmental activist group claimed responsibility for. A “hacktivist” group called the APT-69420 Arson Cats claimed responsibility for hacking into a security camera system at Tesla facilities.
SpaceX deployed robotic “dogs” to patrol its Boca Chica test facility after one incident in which a YouTuber trespassed at the facility.
Considering these incidents, some of which were politically motivated, Musk may have reason to be concerned for his safety and the safety of his family. It would make sense for him to obscure his travel itinerary as much as possible to reduce risk.