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GOP mega-donor, tech icon exposed as FBI informant: Report

FBI agent. (FBI/Released)
October 19, 2023

Tech magnate Peter Thiel, best known for co-founding PayPal and his role as a Republican mega-donor, secretly served as a “confidential human source” (CHS) for the FBI, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

The revelation of Thiel’s role as an FBI informant was unveiled by a recent Business Insider report based on sources close to the tech billionaire.

Peter Thiel, the man behind major Silicon Valley investments and a key player in the cryptocurrency realm, reportedly began working with the FBI in the summer of 2021. Sources told Business Insider that Thiel funneled information to Los Angeles-based FBI agent Johnathan Buma, an expert in probing political corruption and foreign influence campaigns.

The path to Thiel’s role as an FBI informant was reportedly paved by Charles Johnson, an internet troll and long-standing associate of Thiel’s. Johnson shared with Business Insider that he was instrumental in linking Thiel with Agent Buma, a claim backed by another anonymous source familiar with Thiel’s FBI association.

One source indicated to Business Insider that Thiel’s assistance to the FBI emerged in an attempt to distance himself from former President Donald Trump and the broader MAGA movement, as the former president has been vocally critical of federal law-enforcement agencies such as the FBI under the Biden administration.

According to the FBI’s Confidential Human Source Policy Guide, once someone becomes an FBI source, “[They] will be either an ‘FBI source’ or a ‘former FBI source’ and, in turn, his or her conduct or misconduct will reflect upon the FBI.”

The policy guide also stipulates that only people who can provide “valuable information… on a recurring basis” can be given CHS status.

Thiel, as a CHS, was reportedly given a code name and an internal serial number, with the intel he provided being meticulously cross-referenced against other sources.

READ MORE: FBI secretly targeting Trump supporters: Report

Johnson, who also self-identified as an informant for Buma, emphasized to Business Insider that Thiel’s FBI contributions were mostly about foreign interferences in Silicon Valley, and he was told not to report on his connections with Trump or other political figures. Thiel has previously advocated for the FBI to more closely scrutinize Google’s connections with China.

Thiel’s vested interests also appear to intersect with the FBI and other government entities. According to Business Insider, Thiel currently possesses a 10% stake in Palantir, a data firm that has secured contracts worth billions from the federal government, including the FBI. Another of Thiel’s investments, Boldend, positions itself as an American rival to NSO Group, a company whose products have been procured by the FBI.

While Thiel has not yet addressed the revelation of his role as an FBI informant, the discovery has added another layer to his various roles.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.