- President Donald Trump has said he’ll look into claims made by Peter Thiel that Google’s relationship with China is “seemingly treasonous.”
- Thiel is a prominent supporter of Trump, and in a tweet Tuesday the president called Thiel a “brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone.”
- Thiel called on the FBI and the CIA to investigate Google. It is not clear from Trump’s tweet how his administration will pursue the matter.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump has promised to look into claims made by the billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel that Google may have committed treason.
During a speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, DC, on Sunday, Thiel floated the idea that Google’s relationship with China was “seemingly treasonous.”He later doubled down on the remarks on Fox News.
Thiel is one of Trump’s highest-profile supporters in Silicon Valley and has the ear of the president. This proved to be the case Tuesday when Trump tweeted animatedly about the PayPal cofounder’s remarks.
Quoting a headline on Thiel from “Fox & Friends,” Trump said: “A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!”
“Billionaire Tech Investor Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason. He accuses Google of working with the Chinese Government.” @foxandfriends A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
Thiel raised his concerns about Google in a series of questions, in which he asked whether executives considered themselves to be “thoroughly infiltrated” by Chinese intelligence. He also suggested that Google was allowing its technology to be used by China but not the US military after the company backed out of the Pentagon’s artificial-intelligence initiative known as Project Maven.
Thiel did not support his speculation with evidence but called on the FBI and the CIA to investigate the company. It is not clear from Trump’s tweet how his administration will pursue Thiel’s claims.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Google has acknowledged that work has taken place on a new search engine for China, but the company has repeatedly said it has no plans to reenter the country after it left in 2010.
Thiel’s mention of treason plays well with Trump at a time when the president and many Republicans are accusing the company of having an anti-conservative agenda.
The Palantir cofounder’s comments also coincide with the president waging a trade war with China in which his administration handcuffed Huawei, one of the country’s biggest tech firms, by putting it on an entity blacklist.
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