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Silicon Valley Tech Giant Peter Thiel Urges U.S. Probe of Google’s ‘ Treasonous’ Acts

17

The enemy is deep amoung us.

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Peter Thiel Urges U.S. Probe of Google’s ‘Seemingly Treasonous’ Acts

  • The billionaire cites China work and dropped Pentagon contract
  • Thiel praises Trump’s aggressive posture toward China

Peter Thiel, one of President Donald Trump’s top Silicon Valley supporters and donors, took aim at Google and the tech industry over the companies’ focus on global markets while brushing aside U.S. interests.

In a speech Sunday in Washington, the billionaire singled out Google for agreeing to work closely with China, trying to get its search engine back into the country, while deciding to let lapse a U.S. Defense Department contract that gave the military access to its artificial intelligence tools.

Thiel, a Facebook Inc. board member, argued that the kind of AI developed by DeepMind, which like Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., should be thought of as a potential “military weapon.” “We’ve been a lot more dishonest about that in Silicon Valley than the nuclear physicists were in the 1940s,” he said in the opening speech at the National Conservatism conference.

He then suggested Google’s actions were “seemingly treasonous,” asking whether DeepMind or Google senior management had been “infiltrated” by foreign intelligence agencies. “These questions need to be asked by the FBI and the CIA,” Thiel said, “And I’d like them to be asked in a not excessively gentle manner.”

Thiel was a featured speaker at the gathering, where many of the attendees are enthusiastic supporters of Trump. Thiel’s endorsement of the New York developer at the 2016 Republican National Convention — and donation of $1.25 million — helped give Trump a measure of Silicon Valley credibility at the time.

Thiel also praised Trump’s foreign policy on Sunday, in particular his trade efforts in China, which he termed a “signature achievement” of the administration. Thiel suggested the 25% tariff on Chinese goods should be thought of “as a floor and not a ceiling.” He also proposed reforms in higher education, including investigations into student lending practices and ending the nonprofit tax-exempt status of elite universities, singling out Harvard University.

Thiel didn’t endorse calls by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 candidate to replace Trump, and others to break up tech giants like Google and Facebook. He said Warren’s success raising money from Google employees was evidence of an underlying problem.

“Silicon Valley,” he said, “is getting a little bit of a bad conscience.”

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