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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Peter Thiel doubled down last night on his "Google has maybe been infiltrated by the Chinese government" claim, which was eventually picked up by President Trump. When (lightly) pressed for evidence, Thiel simply said he was "asking questions."

Why it matters: You don't propose that someone deserves to face a firing squad without at least a single receipt.

So a few questions for Mr. Thiel:

  1. Have you shorted Google stock or is Palantir currently competing with Google for a major U.S. government contract?
  2. You've said on the record that you're "not a vampire." Are you able to provide independent verification of this claim? Because, were you a vampire, it could pose a national security risk given your ties with senior U.S. officials.
  3. Is it because you're actually a vampire that you deny being a vampire? And would that not be seemingly treasonous, in that the generally accepted societal punishment is death (albeit by wooden stake, in this case)?

Between the lines: I don't mean to minimize the very real possibility of Chinese espionage attempts at U.S. tech companies, and Google's AI efforts certainly make it Silicon Valley's juiciest target.

  • Moreover, an argument that Google was unpatriotic for not renewing its massive U.S. Department of Defense contract (Project Maven) while continuing to do business with tech transfer-heavy China is a legitimate source of political science debate. (See Lonsdale, Joe for more on this).

Go deeper: Pro Rata Podcast digs deeper into Thiel's comments on Google, and the broader Trumpist attacks on Big Tech. I'm joined by David McCabe, who was in the room Sunday night for Thiel's speech. Listen here.

Go deeper

35 mins ago - World

China sanctions Wilbur Ross, 5 other Americans over Hong Kong warnings

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Chinese government imposed sanctions on Monday against six Americans, including former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in response to an advisory from the Biden administration warning businesses of the increased risks of operating in Hong Kong.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of China responding furiously to U.S. attempts to shed light on human rights abuses in places like Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, which Chinese officials routinely condemn as "interference" in domestic affairs.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Live updates: Olympics formally kick off with "sobering" opening ceremony

Naomi Osaka lights the Olympic cauldron. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway. But this year's largely spectator-less opening ceremony is a "sobering" event focused primarily on the athletes.

The latest: The cauldron in Tokyo has been lit, formally kicking off the Olympic Games. Tennis star Naomi Osaka had the honor of carrying the Olympic torch to light the cauldron.

2 hours ago - Sports

Cleveland Indians change name to "Guardians"

The Cleveland Indians baseball team announced Friday that it will change its name to the "Guardians," following years of activism and protests against a moniker considered offensive by many Native Americans.

Why it matters: It's the first time the team will change its name since 1915, a move that comes in the wake of the nationwide racial reckoning that began with the murder of George Floyd.

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