- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that he and President Trump had found no evidence of Google working with the Chinese government in a way that raised concerns.
- Mnuchin’s comments come after tech billionaire Peter Thiel said earlier this month that Google been “seemingly treasonous” for its decision to work with the Chinese military.
- Last week Karan Bhatia, Google’s VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy, confirmed that Google had “terminated” its censored search engine being built for China.
- “I think Google is an American company that wants to help out the US,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that he and President Trump had found no evidence of Google working with the Chinese government in a way that raised concerns, contrary to tech billionaire Peter Thiels’ comments from earlier this month.
“The president and I did diligence on this issue, we’re not aware of any areas where Google is working with the Chinese government in any way that raises concerns,” Mnuchin said in his interview with CNBC on Wednesday.
Earlier in July, Thiel told a group at the National Conservatism conference that Google been “seemingly treasonous” for its decision to work with the Chinese military, and called on the FBI and CIA to launch an investigation into the company. Thiel was referencing Google’s censored search engine it had been building for China, known as Project Dragonfly.
Two days after Thiel’s comments, President Trump tweeted that his administration would “take a look” into the Silicon Valley tech giant.
Given Mnuchin’s statement on Wednesday, President Trump and his team were apparently ok with what they found.
Thiel did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The president’s apparent satisfaction with Google could be a result of last week’s testimony from Karan Bhatia, Google’s VP of Government Affairs and Public Policy, who said during a Senate committee hearing that the tech giant had “terminated” a censored search engine that was being built for China. Previously, the company had sidestepped giving definite answers as to the project’s internal status.
Also, interestingly, Mnuchin said on Wednesday that during the past week, he and the president met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai in Washington. News of such meetings had not been previously reported.
Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the specifics of those meetings.
Mnuchin said that Google’s chief exec “assured” them that the company was doing “very, very limited work” in China, and that it was mostly related to “open source work.” The Treasury Secretary went on to say that Google “continues to do work with us in certain areas of DoD. And I think Google is an American company that wants to help out the US.”
Previously, Google had found itself under fire from US politicians, including President Trump, and top-ranking military officials for its decisions to scale down its work with the Pentagon – most notably, its decision not to renew an AI contract with the Department of Defence, known as Project Maven.
On Wednesday, it was the Amazon which took the brunt of Mnuchin’s scrutiny, claiming the e-commerce giant had “destroyed” America’s retail industry.
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