Google, Twitter, Meta and TikTok’s executive ranks have included over 200 former employees of surveillance government agencies, creating an employment pipeline between the government and Big Tech companies, a Daily Caller investigation found.
The technology companies recruited 248 employees from the DOJ, FBI, CIA and DHS, a LinkedIn search revealed. The hiring occurred mostly between 2017-2022, with several filling top director positions after having decade-long careers in the surveillance agencies.
Google hired 130 former DOJ, DHS, CIA and FBI employees, the Daily Caller’s key term search on LinkedIn found. Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, employed 47 people for those three entities who were previously at the DOJ, FBI or DHS. TikTok, the Chinese-based app embattled with national security concerns, employed 25 former DOJ, FBI, DHS or CIA employees. Twitter had 46 executives who had previously spent time working for the three-letter agencies.
Reed Rubinstein, former deputy associate attorney general under President Trump, told the Daily Caller that Americans should be “concerned” about “terrifying” integration of Big Tech companies and federal agencies.
“The revolving door has been a feature of D.C. for as long as I can remember. Any business that is heavily regulated is going to be concerned about managing the regulators, and one way to do that is by purchasing them,” Rubinstein said.
“As we saw with [Jim] Baker, they are still wearing — sometimes — two hats. They still talk informally to folks who are in the [intelligence community], and so it’s not necessarily a clean break. In fact, what they pay for, is those relationships,” Rubinstein added. (RELATED: Musk Fires Ex-FBI Lawyer For Allegedly Stonewalling Access To Hunter Biden Twitter Files)
“The integration of Big Tech and the national security state … really it’s dystopian, it’s terrifying. They have enough data to show that that power, which is immense, will be abused. And right now there is no effective check on it,” he said.
In particular, Twitter directly recruited a number of career FBI employees who had spent over 20 years with the bureau.
The search found numerous LinkedIn users touting work history in intelligence agencies didn’t fully identify themselves, choosing to censor their last names. The users presumably fully identify themselves at some point in the recruitment, hiring and vetting process.
A user named “Kevin L.” spent over 25 years at the FBI working as a special agent and a technically trained agent before immediately transitioning to being a corporate security manager at Twitter.
“Bruce A.” worked for the FBI and the Department of the Interior for 23 years before becoming Twitter’s director of information security for the insider threat program.
Michael Bertrand worked at the FBI for over 23 years in special agent and chief of staff capacities before getting hired as Twitter’s crisis manager.
The other dozens of career FBI agents who spent over 20 years at the bureau were recruited by Twitter to fill positions like “embedded security manager,” “senior security manager,” “senior director,” “security specialist,” “director of corporate security/ risk” and “director of corporate resilience.”
“Across Silicon Valley, Big Tech firms have increasingly hired individuals with affiliations to the U.S. intelligence community. It is alarming to see former officials from agencies like the CIA and FBI embed themselves within these corporations, as it raises questions about their potential influence on corporate policies and business practices,” Jake Denton, a research associate in the The Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, told the Daily Caller.
“As documented in the Twitter Files, social media platforms like Twitter can be easily weaponized by a small group of employees in consequential positions to quell free speech and influence the American public. With the power of Big Tech constantly on the rise, Americans should be deeply concerned about the potential consequences of this revolving door between D.C. and Silicon Valley,” Denton added.
The majority of the former FBI, DOJ, CIA or DHS executives employed by Twitter — 26 employees — left the company in 2022 or 2023, around the time Elon Musk took over as CEO.
“There has been an enormous spike in Big Tech hiring of former FBI employees beginning in 2018. I think this is important because it was around this time we saw a lot of the censorship of conservative accounts,” FBI whistleblower Steve Friend, who left the bureau after seeing a divergence from the FBI’s usual practices in the Jan. 6 investigations, told the Daily Caller.
“It is also noteworthy that many of the high-ranking FBI hires were close to reaching the 20-year retirement point. This means those individuals sacrificed the honor of ‘retiring from the FBI’ as well as their pensions to move over into Big Tech,” Friend, who is a Fellow on Domestic Intelligence and Security Services at the Center for Renewing America, added.
The Caller previously reported on the DOJ’s issuing subpoenas to review users’ private Twitter accounts.
The DOJ issued a subpoena probing Twitter for information on Tara Reade’s accounts in 2020, months after she issued allegations about being sexually assaulted by President Joe Biden in 1993. The subpoena requested Reade’s:
- Subscriber name;
- Records of session times and durations, to include attempted/failed/unauthenticated logins;
- Length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;
- Telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address; and
- Means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number)
Reade said she doesn’t “know why” her Twitter accounts were of interest to the DOJ. “Other than coming forward about Joe Biden, there would be no reason for them to do that,” she said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: DOJ Probed Tara Reade’s Twitter After She Issued Allegations About Joe Biden’s Sexual Harassment, Docs Show)
“You’re going to see a lot of that when you’re on the same team,” Rubinstein said of the Reade subpoena.
The American Accountability Foundation (AAF), an organization dedicated to oversight research, found that 360 former DOJ employees worked at Big Tech companies like Apple, Amazon, HP, Meta, Google and Microsoft, through their own LinkedIn search.
Although President Joe Biden has made statements criticizing Big Tech, the “revolving door” between the Biden administration’s DOJ and Big Tech companies “raises questions about conflicts of interest at the Department,” AFF said.
“As Big Tech continues to target conservatives, the revolving door between the Justice Department and Big Tech calls into question the Biden administration’s willingness to end these abuses rather than collaborate with Big Tech,” AAF President Tom Jones said.
Google, Meta, TikTok and the former FBI employees mentioned in this story did not respond to inquiries from the Daily Caller or refused to provide comment. Twitter responded with a poop emoji, an automatic communications response method the company adopted since the takeover of Musk.
Matthew Buckley and Ryan Lippe contributed to this report.