President Donald Trump addressed ongoing concerns Friday about Google’s work with China and their government after prominent supporter Peter Thiel warned of their “seemingly treasonous” activity.
“There may or may not be National Security concerns with regard to Google and their relationship with China,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “If there is a problem, we will find out about it. I sincerely hope there is not!!!”
Thiel’s warning about Google drew additional attention from the Trump administration in July.
Thiel warned Google’s actions to work with China were “seemingly treasonous” after pulling out of a contract with the Department of Defense.
Thiel said Google should be asked about foreign intelligence infiltration of their artificial intelligence project, whether their senior management had been infiltrated by Chinese intelligence and why they were comfortable working with the Chinese government and not the United States military.
“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.”
Trump responded to the warning immediately on Twitter.
“A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone!” Trump wrote on Twitter on July 16 in response to Thiel’s remarks. “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
Google’s relationship with China has long been a point of concern.
A year ago reports revealed Google was working with the Chinese communists on “Project Dragonfly” — a censored search engine for China. Despite claims from the company that they were no longer working with China, evidence kept coming out about the project after some high profile people quit the company over it. As late as Mach 2019 the company was doing performance reviews on Project Dragonfly, indicating it had some life. A Google engineer also revealed that the company blacklisted a Chinese dissident just to please their communist partners.
Google’s vice president of public policy testified last week to Congress that they had “terminated” the controversial Project Dragonfly, a controversial project with the Chinese Government and had no plans for a search engine in China.
Despite Thiel’s warning, some of Trump’s advisers defended Google. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow downplayed Thiel’s concerns in an interview.
“I meet with Google, I meet with Google’s CEO on a regular basis. I think they’re working for America, for our military, not for China. I guess it’s very fashionable to pick on these big tech companies. Maybe some deserve it, maybe some don’t. I’ve had long discussions with Google’s CEO, their new CEO, long discussions with Tim Cook of Apple. But my sense is they’re very supportive of this country, this president and his agenda. I think they’re working hard. I don’t believe for one minute Google is committing ‘treason.’ ”
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai also met with Trump and other tech CEOs at the White House on Monday to discuss security issues with China and technology development.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Wednesday that the administration had investigated concerns about the company.
“The president and I did diligence on this issue and we’re not aware of any areas where Google is working with the Chinese government that in any way raises concerns,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC. “Google is an American company that wants to help out the U.S.”
There may or may not be National Security concerns with regard to Google and their relationship with China. If there is a problem, we will find out about it. I sincerely hope there is not!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019