Report: Peter Thiel Was FBI Informant

He focused on foreign influence in Silicon Valley, according to political activist Charles Johnson
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2023 1:11 PM CDT
Report: Peter Thiel Was FBI Informant
Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, offers a pair of hundred dollar bills to attendees during a keynote address at the Bitcoin Conference, April 7, 2022, in Miami Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel has bankrolled Republican politicians who've publicly attacked the FBI, from former President Donald Trump to Sen. JD Vance. It's somewhat surprising then that a new report from Insider alleges he has served as an FBI informant. Alt-right political activist Charles Johnson claims he helped recruit Thiel, a longtime associate, by introducing him to Johnathan Buma, an agent in the Los Angeles Field Office who specializes in political corruption and foreign-influence campaigns. Thiel, who previously urged the FBI to investigate Chinese government intrusion at Google, reportedly shared information about foreign contacts and attempts by foreign governments to infiltrate Silicon Valley.

Johnson, who was reportedly another informant for Buma, supplying information on figures involved with planning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, said Thiel was directed not to report on his interactions with US political figures. Johnson said he chose to out Thiel as an FBI "confidential human source" because he "felt betrayed" that the venture capitalist didn't invest in Johnson's startups, "which he had expected Thiel to do in exchange for introducing him to Buma," Insider reports. Though Boing Boing describes Johnson as "a notorious liar," Insider cites multiple sources who corroborate his claims, stating Thiel was on the FBI's roster of registered informants. He was reportedly assigned a code name and serial number.

One source, who acknowledged Thiel had spoken to Buma several times, said the exchanges should be viewed as part of the Republican megadonor's slow detachment from Trump and the MAGA movement, which has become increasingly critical of federal law enforcement. "It's unclear whether Thiel remains a CHS for the FBI," but Johnson doesn't think he is, per Insider. Buma emerged as a whistleblower earlier this year, claiming officials with the Justice Department and FBI stymied his investigation into Rudy Giuliani's ties to Russian intelligence during the Trump administration, per Mother Jones. In a July statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he claimed he was ordered to drop all contact with his sources late last year, Insider reports. (More Peter Thiel stories.)

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