President Trump has tech giant Google in his crosshairs again, tweeting that the administration will look into allegations by billionaire tech tycoon Peter Thiel that Google has provided technology to China’s military.
In a speech Sunday at a conservative conference, Thiel called on the FBI and the CIA to probe Google. Thiel asked rhetorically whether Google “consider[s] themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the U.S. military,” according to Axios.
Thiel also queried, “Does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?”
A rep for Google refuted Thiel’s allegations. “As we have said before, we do not work with the Chinese military,” the rep said. “We are working with the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare.”
Trump, apparently citing a report on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” morning program about Thiel’s comments, on Tuesday tweeted that Thiel is “A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!”
Thiel, who is a member of Facebook’s board, was Silicon Valley’s biggest booster of Trump, having donated $1.25 million to the Trump presidential campaign. Thiel first amassed his wealth as co-founder of PayPal, which eBay acquired for $1.5 billion in 2002. He co-founded Palantir Technologies, a data-analytics and antifraud software company that has received funding from the CIA’s In-Q-Tel arm. Worth noting is that Palantir works with Amazon’s AWS, which operates cloud services through partners in China that serve Chinese state-owned enterprises.
Trump last month suggested the U.S. government should sue Google and other tech companies, possibly over potential antitrust violations. He also complained about the supposed anti-conservative bias of Silicon Valley companies.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the House Judiciary subcommittee is holding hearings about the market power of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, while the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is holding a hearing examining Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency.