‘The CIA actually directly midwifed Google into existence.’
Seattle, Washington / USA – December 10 2019: Google logo on the offices of the search engine companyShutterstock/VDB Photos
Mon Feb 27, 2023
(LifeSiteNews) — Google “fundamentally started as a CIA project,” according to journalist and author of Propaganda in the Information Age, Alan MacLeod, who has warned that tech giants’ ties with intelligence agencies pose big problems for freedom of information as well as freedom of speech.
MacLeod, who has extensively researched the ties between the national security state and Big Tech, explained to journalist Whitney Webb on the Unlimited Hangout podcast how a prior investigation by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed found that the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) were “bankrolling” research by Sergey Brin at Stanford University, which “produced Google.”
“Not only that … but his supervisor there was a CIA person. So the CIA actually directly midwifed Google into existence. In fact, until 2005, the CIA actually held shares in Google and eventually sold them,” MacLeod told Webb.
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Ahmed explained that Brin and his Google co-founder, Larry Page, developed “the core component of what eventually became Google’s search service” “with funding from the Digital Library Initiative (DLI),” a program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, and DARPA.
In addition, the intelligence community’s Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) initiative, a project sponsored by the NSA, CIA, and the Director of Central Intelligence, “essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources.”
Brin and Page “regularly” reported to Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham and Dr. Rick Steinheiser, who were “representatives of a sensitive US intelligence community research programme on information security and data-mining,” Ahmed shared.
Ahmed has argued that the involvement of intelligence agencies in the birth of Google, for example, is deeply purposeful: that they have “nurtur[ed] the web platforms we know today for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology … to fight [a] global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us.”
Google staffed by ‘dozens and dozens’ of ex-CIA agents
In his own research, MacLeod has found that the CIA’s ties with Google continue today, as “there are dozens and dozens of examples” of former CIA agents who now work at Google, “who had just been parachuted into these positions of extreme importance.”
That is, these former CIA employees often cluster in “trust and safety” roles, which are hugely influential in their management of so-called “misinformation” and “hate speech.” Examples include Jacqueline Lopour, Ryan Fugit, and Nick Rossman.
Such hiring preferences suggest, MacLeod noted, that either Big Tech is “is actively recruiting from the intelligence services or that there is some sort of backroom deal between Silicon Valley and the national security state.”
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MacLeod believes U.S. intelligence agencies’ connections with Google, as well as social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
“Social media is enormously important. It really decides what we think about what we see, what we don’t see. It informs everything about our being. And so whenever an entity becomes this powerful, it’s natural that powerful organizations, whether they’re corporations or governments, will start to look at that and try to understand how they can hack it, how they can use it for their own benefits, or how they can even infiltrate it.”
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The CIA’s influence on Google is hugely significant, according to MacLeod, because the kind of power that Google has “over modern society” can hardly be overstated.
“Google is really too big to ignore … what comes up in the Google search has huge implications for how people think, for political movements, for public opinion,” MacLeod noted, going so far as to speculate that the company “might be the most important and influential company in the world.”
Indeed, Google is the most-visited website in the world, and has a 92 percent share of the global search engine market, according to statcounter.com. Google’s Gmail also remains the most popular email platform in 2023, with 1.8 billion users, the highest number of any email service worldwide.
A source shared with LifeSiteNews last year that contents of Gmail users’ emails get scanned by an AI algorithm that builds profiles of both its users and those they communicate with via email, and also stores data from draft emails. This raises privacy concerns even assuming Gmail was entirely “private.” Google’s CIA connections raises the even more disturbing possibility that the state can access its citizens’ personal communications and use them to potentially target individuals or groups.
According to MacLeod, Google’s close links to the U.S. national security state “should really be alarming people all over the world” and “especially foreign governments who often rely on Google for neutral and professional services.”
The behemoth company’s power extends even further through its subsidiary YouTube, which Webb observed has become a “substitute for cable television” for many, adding “another level to [Google’s] dominance of information.” In fact, YouTube is the world’s second most visited website. Despite the development of alternative video platforms and search engines, Google and YouTube heavily predominate, rendering people essentially “dependent” on these platforms, Webb pointed out.
Google, YouTube serving the Democratic Party, national security state
If YouTube was once under a “golden age” of alternative media, during which its algorithms were “much more neutral,” that is no longer the case, argued MacLeod.
“Unfortunately, that golden age came crashing to a very quick halt in the wake of the 2016 election, whereby the Clinton campaign and … others, [including] the intelligence community, claimed that basically fake news on the Internet sponsored by foreign powers, specifically Russia, was the reason that Trump was able to beat Hillary Clinton,” he told Webb.
“And in the wake of this, we saw YouTube, Google, Facebook and all the other big social media platforms changed their algorithms radically to promote what they said was authoritative content and suppress what they called borderline content,” in what MacLeod called a “coordinated campaign” in the interests of the Democratic Party as well as the national security state.
“But the problem with this is that the outcome wasn’t to take away really low quality conspiracy theories,” said MacLeod, arguing that instead the censorship suppressed “high-quality alternative media websites that had been kicking the ass of corporate media on the Internet for years and years.”
Indeed, both Google and YouTube continue to censor and suppress legitimate speech to this day. Just recently, YouTube deleted an interview conducted by LifeSiteNews’ editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen with Dr. Wahome Ngare, a Kenyan obstetrician and gynecologist, who shared how a World Health Organization (WHO) tetanus vaccine was used to sterilize young women of childbearing age in Kenya.
Webb described intelligence agencies’ grip over Google, YouTube, and other web platforms as a “war on independent information on a massive scale.” She underscored the fact that the individuals behind these information control efforts are defying what she believes “makes the U.S. great: the First Amendment, free speech,” in favor of the speech they condone.
“The people behind it are, I think, pretty clearly up to no good. I mean, they’re certainly not up to, you know, democratic values, the democratic values they claim to be protecting, which is about, you know, what makes the U.S. democracy great. The First Amendment, free speech, all of this stuff. I mean, obviously there’s an effort to make it only the free speech condoned by these powerful entities in the American government,” she said.
The CIA’s ethical track record, which is grievously tainted according to ample testimony, such as that concerning its top-secret MKULTRA project, which engaged in human torture for mind control experiments, makes its influence over Big Tech even more deeply concerning, according to Webb.
“It’s frankly very, very disturbing when, as you note in your article, we have people like former CIA directors, like Mike Pompeo being like, yeah, we lie and we cheat and we steal,” Webb told MacLeod, referring to Pompeo’s 2019 admission.
“And most people are … unaware that they’re in the middle of this war, which is ultimately a war for our hearts and minds, a war … on human perception, essentially.”
Part 1: Upper ranks of Big Tech swarming with ex-CIA and FBI, ‘agents of the national security state’
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