President Donald Trump said the government will investigate Google following an accusation by tech billionaire Peter Thiel that the company is working with China and committing treason.
"A great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone! The Trump Administration will take a look!" Trump said on Twitter Tuesday morning after a segment on Fox News aired on the issue.
In a speech on Sunday, Thiel reportedly suggested that Google's ($GOOGL) AI operations had been infiltrated by foreign intelligence agencies — especially China's — and said that senior management has made a "seemingly treasonous decision" to work with China.
These questions "need to be asked by the FBI, by the CIA," Thiel said at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington D.C., according to Axios, adding that a probe should be conducted "in a not excessively gentle manner."
Google strongly pushed back against the charge, saying in a statement to Cheddar that "we do not work with the Chinese military. We are working with the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, in many areas including cybersecurity, recruiting and healthcare."
Thiel, who is on the board of Facebook ($FB) and has been a longtime supporter of Trump, is the co-founder of PayPal ($PYPL) and Palantir Technologies, a data mining firm that works with several U.S. government agencies.
"Treason is a very, very serious word here," Jason Moser, senior analyst at the investor firm The Motley Fool, told Cheddar. "You need to be very careful when you use that language and at least have something to back it up."
Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House's National Economic Council, also pushed back against the accusation, telling Fox Business on Monday that he is "not sure where [Thiel] is going, what [Thiel] is pointing to."
"I have my doubts," Kudlow added.