Tech billionaire Peter Thiel reportedly FBI informant-Xinhua

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel reportedly FBI informant

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-10-21 13:24:00

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Peter Thiel, a U.S. billionaire, venture capitalist and the co-founder of PayPal, may have been an FBI informant, Business Insider, a major U.S. business publication and a subsidiary of the German publisher Axel Springer SE, reported Thursday.

Thiel began providing information as a "confidential human source," or CHS, for a Los Angeles-based agent in the summer of 2021, said the report.

The agent, named Johnathan Buma, specializes in investigating political corruption and so-called foreign-influence campaigns.

The term CHS indicates a long-running relationship with the FBI. Only people who are able to provide "valuable information ... on a recurring basis" are granted CHS status, said the report, citing the FBI's policy.

Business Insider's sources, including far-right political figure Charles Johnson and several anonymous individuals, confirmed that the FBI added Thiel to its formal roster of registered informants.

As a CHS, Thiel was assigned a code name and an internal serial number to track his reporting, which was reviewed and "validated," or cross-checked against other sources, by his case agents and their colleagues.

Thiel was a high-profile supporter and megadonor of former U.S. President Donald Trump, but the information he passed on was not about his domestic political contacts but focused on "foreign contacts and Silicon Valley intrigue," potentially including so-called foreign influence operations in the tech industry, as reported.

One of the sources told Insider that Thiel's collaboration with the FBI should be understood as part of his gradual distancing of himself from Trump and the broader MAGA movement, which has vigorously criticized the FBI and other federal law-enforcement agencies.