Senator Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) personal Twitter account was suspended on Wednesday—but reinstated an hour later after Twitter claimed the suspension was a “training” error.
Lee announced the suspension on his official Twitter at 12:32pm CT and said he was “seeking answers” from the social media company.
“My personal Twitter account – @BasedMikeLee – has been suspended. Twitter did not alert me ahead of time, nor have they yet offered an explanation for the suspension,” he said.
Then, at 1:34pm CT, Lee’s account was back up. He thanked “all who assisted in operation #Free @basedMikeLee” but said he still had no explanation from Twitter.
A Twitter spokesperson told Politico that Lee’s account was suspended incorrectly after users reported that he was being impersonated and a Twitter agent did not get approval to suspend him. Twitter said they are addressing the problem and called it a “training issue.”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk chimed in and said that Lee’s account was flagged for impersonation.
“His personal account (@BasedMikeLee) was incorrectly flagged as impersonation, which is not totally crazy, since it is based,” he wrote.
Before Lee was reinstated, users assumed that Lee’s account was suspended for threatening Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over a detained U.S. Naval Officer.
“Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that you used your personal account to threaten the prime minister of an ally foreign country?” one user wrote.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Lee threatened to expose the alleged mistreatment of American military personnel by the Japanese government if Kishida did not release Lt. Ridge Alkonis—a U.S. naval service member serving a three-year prison sentence in the country for his involvement in a car crash that killed two people—by midnight on Feb. 28.
Lee has been tweeting about Alkonis for a while and threatened Kishida earlier last month that Congress would review the “security arrangement” between the U.S. and Japan if Alkonis was not returned safely.
Alkonis is still in a Japanese prison, and Lee has yet to expose the alleged mistreatment of U.S. servicemen abroad.
But his based Twitter account is back.