President Donald Trump is warning his administration may launch a probe into Google over accusations the U.S. technology giant has been infiltrated by the Chinese government.
The warning came after staunch Trump supporter and billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel said earlier this week the CIA and the FBI should investigate Google because it may have committed treason in its business dealings with China.
Thiel maintained top Chinese military and intelligence officials are “likely to have infiltrated Google,” a charge he repeated in a Monday night interview on Fox News.
Trump echoed Theil’s unsubstantiated remarks in a Tuesday morning tweet. “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!
Google said in a statement the accusations from Trump and Thiel, who serves on the board of tech rival Facebook, are groundless. “As we’ve said before, we do not work with the Chinese military.”
Trump’s threat of an investigation is the latest development in an ongoing dispute with Google, which he recently accused of suppressing his followers online and trying to fix U.S. elections to benefit Democrats. Google has also denied those allegations.
Google recently began researching modified version of a search engine it abandoned in China in 2010 to protest China’s efforts to censure its search results. Google says it has no plans to deploy the latest version.
The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have expressed great concern about Google’s activities in China, contending Chinese spies could steal the company’s technology if it bolsters its operations there.