President Donald Trump today said his administration will look into tech investor Peter Thiel’s accusation that Google may be committing treason through its work in China.
Thiel, a prominent Trump supporter and Facebook board member, on Sunday accused Google of “engag[ing] in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military,”according to Axios. Thiel later criticized the company’s approach to China as “very peculiar” during a Monday night interview on Fox News.
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Trump, in a tweet citing this morning’s episode of “Fox and Friends,” recapped Thiel’s critiques, adding, “A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!”
That pledge came despite the president already coming away satisfied from a March meeting with Google CEO Sundar Pichai on the company’s endeavors in China. After the sitdown, Trump tweeted that Pichai “stated strongly that he is totally committed to the U.S. Military, not the Chinese Military.”
Google today said it does “not work with the Chinese military.”
Thiel offered no explanation for his charges of treason, but his comments echoed criticism aired earlier this year by some defense officials and lawmakers. They hammered Google for pulling back on U.S. defense contracting over the last year while still pursuing business and research interests in China.
Simply operating in China is tantamount to supporting the country’s military, given the Chinese government’s extensive surveillance capabilities and tight control over businesses in the country, the officials argued.