Jul 16, 2019

Trump says administration "will take a look" at Peter Thiel's Google allegations

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that his administration "will take a look" at billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel's statement over the weekend that Google should be federally investigated for allegedly aiding the Chinese military.

Why it matters, per Axios' David McCabe: Thiel is the tech industry's highest-profile Trump supporter, and one of the most powerful players in Silicon Valley.

  • Thiel provided no evidence to back up his claims when pressed on Monday, stating that he was just "raising questions," per Recode's Teddy Schleifer.
  • Trump said in his tweet that Thiel is "a great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone."
  • Trump's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow brushed off Thiel's allegations during a Fox Business interview on Monday: "I'm just not sure where he's going with this."

What Thiel said on Sunday, requesting that the following questions "need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA":

"Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?
"Number two, does Google's senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?
"Number three, is it because they consider 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 US military... because they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn't go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?"

Go deeper: Google CEO discusses China search engine for the first time

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Thiel's Google charge opens new line of attack on tech

Peter Thiel. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Investor Peter Thiel's charge Sunday that Google is in bed with China apparently wasn't a one-off attack. It's increasingly looking like the first shot on a new front in the war between Trump's Washington and Silicon Valley.

Why it matters: Tech companies are already defending themselves against charges of privacy invasion, political bias and monopoly power. Now, they're being accused of being unpatriotic — and even treasonous.

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A few questions for Peter Thiel

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.

Peter Thiel: Elizabeth Warren is the most dangerous Democratic candidate

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Peter Thiel, a billionaire investor and Trump supporter, told Fox News' "'Tucker Carlson Tonight" Monday of his concerns about 2020 Democratic candidates, saying he's "most scared" of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as she's "talking about the economy."

"Almost all the others are equally unimpressive in the sense that it’s all identity politics of one flavor or another, and I wouldn’t want to rank how unimpressive they are, since that would be forcing me to rank the different identities and which one’s more privileged and more special ... But I think Elizabeth Warren’s the dangerous one."
Go deeperArrowJul 16, 2019