Feds Have No Plans To Crash Test The Tesla Cybertruck At This Moment


No independent crash testing of the Tesla Cybertruck appears to be on the cards, which will do little to dispel the thoughts of many believing the stainless steel-bodied truck is not up to the lofty safety standards of other Tesla models.

Ever since the Cybertruck was presented as a prototype more than four years ago, people have been concerned about its shape and the apparent lack of traditional crumple zones. During the unveiling of the production-ready truck in November last year, Tesla showed it being crash-tested in-house but didn’t provide any crash test data, like the ones we’re used to seeing from independent tests. Unfortunately, no further crash testing of the Cybertruck is on the cards, at least for now.

More: Tesla Cybertruck’s Sharp Edges And Rigid Body Raise Pedestrian Safety Concerns

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Jalopnik recently reached out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and was told that there are no plans to independently crash test the Cybertruck. We have reached out to the agencies seeking more information about the reason behind this. It could be because production of the Cybertruck is initially quite limited and not set to ramp up significantly until 2025.

Read: Tesla Engineer Addresses Cybertruck Rust Debate

Despite this, many will no doubt think the Cybertruck should be independently crash-tested. After all, in 4 or 5 years, there could be well over 1 million Cybertrucks on U.S. roads, surely enough to make testing it now worthwhile. The NHTSA has already committed to crash testing a number of new EVs this year, including the Chevy Blazer EV and Equinox EV, and even the VinFast VF 8 which may only ever reach a few hundred homes across the country.

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AMD’s stock surge in past year leads analyst to a ‘heck if we know’ rating

US Top News and Analysis 

In this article


Lisa Su displays an AMD Instinct MI300 chip as she delivers a keynote address at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 4, 2023.
David Becker | Getty Images

Demand for graphics processing units — the artificial intelligence chips that power programs such as ChatGPT — has been surging for months, leading to significant gains for the companies that make GPUs.

AMD rose nearly 130% in 2023, as investors bet that the company’s AI-oriented GPUs scheduled to ship this year can take market share from Nvidia and provide an alternative for big buyers like Microsoft and Meta.

But elevated expectations for AI chip growth has led Northland Capital Markets analyst Gus Richard to admit that he’s not sure where AMD shares should go from here.

“We downgrade on valuation to ‘a heck if we know’ rating,” Richard wrote in a note on Monday. He said he has an actual rating of market perform, which is equivalent to a hold.

Richard’s call is based on his view that investor expectations for AI chip growth have spilled into “irrational exuberance.” He predicts total AI chip revenue of $125 billion in 2027 and says the range of expectations is so great that some analysts are estimating $100 billion and others are at $400 billion.

“AI is big, it’s really big, just not as big as investors are thinking,” Richard wrote.

Richard said overall demand signals were distorted for several reasons. First, market leader Nvidia was effectively a “sole source” for AI chips and demand has been outstripping supply. That led to customers “double ordering,” or buying in advance more than they needed. He also cites recent moves from the U.S. to ban certain chip exports to China as something that could weigh on growth.

In Richard’s calculation, If AMD were to sell $16 billion in AI chips in 2027 — doubling every year from $2 billion in 2024 — the company would have about a 13% market share and would continue to spend more on research and development to keep up with Nvidia. He sees $45 billion in total 2027 revenue for AMD and says that figure is already priced into the stock.

AMD shares fell about 3.5% to $168.17 as of Monday afternoon. Nvidia shares were up less than 1%.

WATCH: Jim Breyer says he would add AMD to the ‘Magnificent Seven’

I would add AMD to the ‘Magnificent Seven’ stocks, says VC investor Jim Breyer

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Feds suggested banks search transactions for terms like ‘Biden,’ ‘Antifa’ and more after Jan 6: sources

Latest & Breaking News on Fox News 

EXCLUSIVE: Federal investigators suggested banks search private financial transactions using terms beyond “Trump” and “MAGA” after Jan. 6, 2021. Additional suggested terms included “Biden,” “Kamala,” “Antifa” and more, sources familiar told Fox News Digital.

Fox News Digital on Wednesday reported that the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, distributed materials to financial institutions that outlined “typologies” of “various persons of interest” and provided the banks with “suggested search terms and Merchant Category Codes for identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement.” 


Sources familiar told Fox News Digital on Thursday that the search terms, like “MAGA” and “Trump,” were generated by a bank and used to help them identify suspicious transactions when reviewing customer transactional information. It is unclear which bank generated the search terms. 

The sources said FinCEN then shared those terms with other banks to help those financial institutions to comply with their own suspicious activity reports.

But beyond the terms identified by the House Judiciary Committee, the unnamed bank generated other terms, which FinCEN shared with other banks, the sources told Fox News Digital. 

The source said the additional search terms included: “White Power,” “Camp Auschwitz,” “Antifa,” “Proud B,” “Storm, the,” “Capitol,” “Groyper Army,” “Threepers,” “boogaloo,” “civil war,” “last sons,” “kill,” “shoot,” “gun,” “death,” “murder,” “Biden,” “Kamala,” “Pelosi,” “Schumer” and “Pence.”

The sources said the distribution of the search terms, including “MAGA” and “Trump,” began in the final weeks of the Trump administration after Jan. 6, 2021.

The initial terms “MAGA” and “Trump” were revealed in a letter sent by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to a former director of FinCEN. Fox News Digital first reported on that letter. 

The committee’s investigation also revealed that FinCEN distributed slides, prepared by Key Bank, to other banks to explain how they could use merchant category codes (MCC) to detect customers whose transactions may reflect “potential active shooters, and who may include dangerous International Terrorists/ Domestic Terrorists/ Homegrown Violence Extremists (‘Lone Wolves’).”


Jordan said the slide instructs financial institutions to query for transactions using certain MCC codes like “3484: Small Arms,” “5091: Sporting and Recreational Goods and Supplies,” and the keywords “Cabela’s,” “Dick’s Sporting Goods” and “Bass Pro Shops,” among others.

Key Bank declined to comment.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

A source familiar with the documents held by the House Judiciary Committee told Fox News Digital that while Jan. 6, 2021, was the “impetus” for the queries and searches, none of the documents the committee has obtained reveal any specific time frames or limitations for banks searching customer transactions with the terms. The source said the federal government used the information for investigations beyond Jan. 6.

It is unclear if the terms are still being used by banks to search private transactions. 

“Despite these transactions having no apparent criminal nexus — and, in fact, relate to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights — FinCEN seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors,” Jordan wrote. “This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious doubts about FinCEN’s respect for fundamental liberties.”

Meanwhile, in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday and obtained by Fox News Digital, Jordan requested a transcribed interview with the senior private sector partner for outreach in the Strategic Partner Engagement Section at the FBI.

Jordan said the committee has received testimony indicating that Bank of America provided the FBI “voluntarily and without any legal process” with a list of individuals who made transactions in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area using a Bank of America credit or debit card between Jan. 5 and Jan. 7, 2021.


Fox News Digital first reported on that portion of the committee’s investigation last year. Bank of America, in November, said the bank “followed all applicable laws” in its interactions with the government. The bank noted that the Treasury Department on Jan. 15, 2021, “shared information regarding potential criminal activity that could disrupt the upcoming inauguration.” 

“We have cooperated with the committee as they evaluate whether the laws we complied with should be changed,” Bank of America said Wednesday. 


But in the Wednesday letter, Jordan stated that when that list was later brought to the attention of the FBI, the former section chief of the Domestic Terrorism Operations Section, Steve Jensen, acted to “pull” that Bank of America information from FBI systems because “the leads lacked allegations of federal criminal conduct.”

Jordan said the committees obtained documents that show FBI personnel “made contact with and provided Bank of America with specific search query terms, indicating that it was ‘interested in all financial relationships’ of BoA customers transacting in Washington, D.C., and customers who had made ‘ANY historical purchase’ of a firearm, or who had purchased a hotel, Airbnb, or airline travel within a given date range.”

Jordan is requesting that the former FinCEN official and an FBI official appear before his committee and the Weaponization Subcommittee for transcribed interviews to aid in the panels’ oversight investigation. 


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TKO stock falls as Vince McMahon plans to sell big chunk of his stake in WWE parent

US Top News and Analysis 

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World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon appears in the ring during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Vince McMahon plans to sell a substantial chunk of his stake in TKO, the parent company of WWE, the wrestling empire founded by his father, TKO said in a release Thursday

TKO’s stock fell more than 6% on Friday, closing around $79.

McMahon intends to sell 8.4 million of his shares, worth about $700 million. He owned more than 28 million shares as of August, according to a regulatory filing. The company said it and several executives are looking to buy shares from McMahon. The longtime wrestling honcho has a net worth of $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.

The move could be an indication that McMahon, 78, plans to get out of his family business, which has been the dominant player in professional wrestling for about four decades, launching the careers of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena and many other crossover stars.

Earlier this year, WWE merged with UFC to form TKO, which is majority owned by Endeavor Group, the talent agency and media company run by Ari Emanuel.

McMahon is executive chairman of TKO. In August, WWE said he was served with a federal grand jury subpoena related to allegations that he paid millions of dollars in hush money to women who accused him of sexual misconduct. He said at the time he has “always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so.”

He also went on medical leave in July after he had spinal surgery.

Endeavor, meanwhile, is exploring strategic alternatives as its market value hasn’t lived up to expectations since it went public in 2021. Endeavor’s biggest shareholder, investment firm Silver Lake, said it could take the company private.

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Who Is Mike Johnson, the New US House Speaker?

USA – Voice of America 

Here are some key facts about Representative Mike Johnson, the Republican lawmaker from Louisiana’s Fourth District who was elected Wednesday as the new speaker of the House of Representatives:

Johnson is a constitutional lawyer who began his career as a college professor before going on to become a conservative media pundit.

After serving for two years in Louisiana’s state legislature, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2017, the year Donald Trump was sworn in as president.

Throughout his congressional career, Johnson, who has served as vice chairman of the House Republican Conference and deputy whip for his party, has made a name for himself as one of Trump’s most loyal supporters.

In the run-up to January 6, 2021, the day the Capitol was ransacked by an armed mob of election deniers, Johnson fueled unfounded conspiracy theories alleging a rigged election.

He joined other hard-right lawmakers in voting against certifying the results of the 2020 election.

Trump endorsed Johnson for speaker in a recent post on X, writing, “In 2024, we will have an even bigger, & more important, WIN! My strong SUGGESTION is to go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, & GET IT DONE, FAST!”

Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma dropped out of the race for speaker on Tuesday evening and offered his support to Johnson.

“I want everyone to know this race has gotten to the point where it’s gotten crazy,” he said. “This is more about people right now than it should be. This should be about America and America’s greatness. For that, I stepped aside and threw all my support behind Mike Johnson. I think he’d make a great speaker.”

Johnson announced his bid in a post on X. He said that he had not considered running until several colleagues encouraged him to.

In Johnson, the hard-right lawmakers who ousted Representative Kevin McCarthy of California have their compromise after Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise’s bids failed — and the rest of the House has a leader, ending weeks of deadlock.

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US redirects Navy carrier strike group, deploys high altitude defense missile system and patriot battalions to the Middle East amid escalations by Iran in the Israel-Hamas war

Business Insider 

A combat-loaded F/A-18C launches off the deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The US is increasing its “force posture” in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.
A Navy strike group was redirected and Patriot battalions were activated.
In a Saturday statement, officials said the moves were made in response to new escalations by Iran.

The US is increasing its military presence in the Middle East amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

In a Saturday statement, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said new steps are being taken to increase the protection of US forces in the region and aid in the defense of Israel following “recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces.”

While representatives of the US Department of Defense declined to answer questions from Insider about the specific actions by Iran that triggered the move, the announcement of new mobilization comes after Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group based in Lebanon, took responsibility on Wednesday for seven attacks directed at Israeli territory. 

The Jerusalem Post reported the attacks included firing on soldiers and surveillance equipment and anti-tank missile strikes. In response, the outlet reported, the Israel Defense Forces said it launched counter-strikes on several Hezbollah targets near the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Though President Joe Biden last week said he didn’t believe it necessary to deploy US troops into Israel — one of the country’s closest allies — Insider previously reported Israel’s national security advisor indicated the US might become more “involved” in the Gaza war if it escalated to the point where Iran and Hezbollah joined.

Austin on Saturday said he’d ordered the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group to be redirected to the Central Command area of responsibility, a region CENTCOM says is “among the least secure and stable places of the world.” The Eisenhower strike group is mobilized in addition to the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group currently operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

“I have also activated the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions to locations throughout the region to increase force protection for US forces,” Austin’s statement continued. The THAAD is a Lockheed Martin anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to intercept targets inside and outside the atmosphere, per the manufacturer.

In addition to the missile systems, Austin indicated additional US troops have been given prepare to deploy orders as part of “prudent contingency planning.” The Pentagon has already alerted more than 2,000 troops to prepare for deployment, Insider previously reported.

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[World] Judith and Natalie Raanan: Hamas frees two US hostages

BBC News world-us_and_canada 

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Media caption,

Hamas video shows mother and daughter hostage release

Hamas has released two US hostages who were abducted during the Palestinian group’s deadly raid on Israel this month.

Israel confirmed they had received mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan from Hamas at the Gaza boundary.

The pair were freed for “humanitarian reasons”, Hamas said.

US President Joe Biden said he was overjoyed at their release and confirmed he had spoken with the Raanans on the phone.

They were the first captives released since the gunmen raided Israel on 7 October, killing 1,400 people and taking around 200 hostages.

Palestinian officials say more than 4,000 people have been killed in Gaza, which has been under Israeli bombardment.

Image source, POTUS

Image caption,

President Biden released a photo of Judith and Natalie Raanan speaking with him on the phone after their release

Brig Gen Gal Hirsch, together with members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), received the two hostages from Hamas at the boundary of the Palestinian enclave on Friday evening, said the Israeli prime minister’s office.

The Raanans were taken to a military base in the centre of the country, where family members were waiting, said the PM’s office.

The mother and daughter were staying at Kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel when they were abducted during the Hamas incursion.

Image source, Family handout

The 59-year-old Illinois mother and her 17-year-old daughter, who recently graduated from high school, are both residents of Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

Natalie’s half-brother, Ben Raanan, told the BBC he felt an “overwhelming sense of gratitude to the large community of people around the world who have put my sister at the forefront of their thoughts, of their prayers, of all religions and all beliefs”.

Natalie’s uncle, Avi Zamir, said the family were “extremely joyful”.

Evanston Rabbi Meir Hecht told the BBC the Jewish community in the suburb was “elated”, adding that his phone had been constantly ringing since they were freed.

“We have so much gratitude to the almighty God for this miracle,” said Rabbi Hecht, adding: “We still have deep pain for all those hostages that are still there.”

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Media caption,

Rabbi of released hostages says congregation is grateful

At a Friday night vigil in Evanston for the hostages held by Hamas, a close friend of Judith, Yehudis Hecht, said their lives had been “turned into a nightmare” when they heard the two had been taken.

“We are praying that they have quick healing from all that they have endured and we are praying for all Israel and a safe return of all hostages,” she said.

The Raanans were taken hostage while celebrating Natalie’s graduation and the 85th birthday of her grandmother, Tamar Ranaan, who survived the Hamas attack.

Tamar Ranaan and her partner, Yehiel, survived by hiding in the safe room of their home.

Mr Biden thanked the Qatari government for its mediation efforts in the release of the two women on Friday.

US officials have been “working around-the-clock to free American citizens who were taken hostage by Hamas”, he said.

A Hamas spokesman, Abu Ubaida, said the mother and daughter had been released “for humanitarian reasons, and to prove to the American people and the world that the claims made by Biden and his fascist administration are false and baseless”.

CNN reported that the mother had been suffering poor health and was receiving treatment from the Red Cross.

Judith Raanan was born in Israel, worked in the US as an aesthetician and life coach, and often used her Hebrew name, Yehudit, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker released a statement saying: “I cannot wait to welcome them back home after demonstrating immense strength and bravery in the face of unthinkable terror.”

As of Friday, at least 32 American citizens had been confirmed dead this month in the Israel-Hamas conflict, while 10 remained unaccounted for, according to the US state department.

The US and UK have each said they are working with Qatari officials to help secure the release of their own citizens.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: “We will continue our dialogue with both the Israelis and Hamas, and we hope these efforts will lead to the release of all civilian hostages from every nationality.”

Other countries with nationals being held in Gaza include Argentina, Germany, France, Thailand and Portugal.

More on Israel-Gaza war

The Ranaans were part of an extended family caught up in the attack.

Another eight family members are missing from Kibbutz Be’eri. Three were killed, including a carer.

BBC News has verified the identities of the other relatives who are feared kidnapped in Gaza.

Dr Shoshan Haran, 67, her daughter Adi Shoham, 38, Adi’s partner, Tal Shoham, 38, and their children, Naveh, 8, and Yahel, 3, are believed to have been snatched from their home.

According to Fair Planet, the non-profit that Dr Haran founded, a phone that belonged to her husband, Avshalom, was tracked to Gaza and they believe the whole family was taken.

Avshalom Haran – an economist and dual German-Israel citizen – is now dead, the BBC has confirmed. He was 66.

Sharon Avigdori, 52, her daughter, Noam, 12, and Lilach Kipnis, 60, are also believed to have been abducted.

Lilach’s husband, Eviatar Kipnis, who was 66 and had Italian citizenship, was killed, the family said.

Paul Vincent Castelvi, who was Eviatar Kipnis’s carer, was also killed.

Additional reporting by Max Matza.


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Netflix’s side quest: A deep dive into its ambitious plans to become a gaming giant

US Top News and Analysis 

In this video



Netflix’s side quest: A deep dive into its ambitious plans to become a gaming giant

Netflix has quietly been building out a library of more than 70 video games as part of an ambitious new push to become a gaming giant, testing out a cloud gaming service and posting job openings for its first big-budget, blockbuster game. But it’s a notoriously tough market to break into, one that many tech and media giants have tried at and failed. The undertaking is just one of a slew of new business lines that the Netflix has been experimenting with, and they’re more important than ever as its stock lags behind the megacaps it used to be on par with. This week on Tech Check, we dive into Netflix’s new side quest.
2 hours ago

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Exclusive: Tech billionaire Peter Thiel was an FBI informant

Business Insider 

Peter Thiel became an FBI informant in the summer of 2021, Insider has learned.

Peter Thiel has worn many hats over the years: Silicon Valley founder, Trump megadonor, cryptocurrency booster, democracy skeptic.

But there is yet another facet to Thiel, one that has remained secret until now: FBI informant.

In the summer of 2021, Insider has learned, Thiel began providing information as a “confidential human source,” or CHS, to Johnathan Buma, a Los Angeles-based FBI agent who specializes in investigating political corruption and foreign-influence campaigns. 

Charles Johnson, a longtime associate of Thiel’s and a notorious figure in the far-right movement that Thiel has subsidized for a decade, told Insider in a statement that he helped recruit the billionaire as an informant by introducing him to Buma.

A source with knowledge of Thiel’s relationship to the FBI, whose identity is known to Insider but who insisted on anonymity, corroborated Johnson’s account, telling Insider that Johnson brokered a relationship between Thiel and Buma. Insider was able to confirm through an additional source that the FBI added Thiel to its formal roster of registered informants.

Another source close to Thiel told Insider that while they could not confirm that Thiel was a CHS, Thiel did speak to Buma occasionally. The source said that any assistance Thiel might have provided to the FBI should be understood as part of Thiel’s gradual distancing of himself from Trump and the broader MAGA movement, which has vigorously criticized the FBI and other federal law-enforcement agencies.

Valuable information on a recurring basis

The FBI maintains a vast network of informants to keep tabs on organized crime, terrorist threats, extremist groups, and other criminal and intelligence targets. These sources, according to the bureau’s Confidential Human Source Policy Guide, are more than casual tipsters. 

Confidential human sources enter “into a relationship with the FBI, and that relationship will forever affect the life of that individual,” the guide says. “[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.” As such, the process for recruiting and maintaining such sources is highly regulated, requiring multiple layers of approval. Only people who are able to provide “valuable information … on a recurring basis” are granted CHS status, according to the policy.

Then President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Peter Thiel during a meeting at Trump Tower in December 2016. Years later, Thiel would become a confidential human source for the FBI. He was directed not to report on his interactions with Trump or other US political figures, an associate said.

As a CHS, Thiel was assigned a code name and an internal serial number to track his reporting. The information he passed on about foreign contacts and Silicon Valley intrigue was reviewed and “validated,” or cross-checked against other sources, by his case agents and their colleagues.

Thiel did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A Thiel spokesperson stopped responding to inquiries after being told that Insider was reporting on Thiel’s relationship with the FBI. 

The FBI’s national press office and Scott Horton, an attorney who represents Johnathan Buma, both declined to comment.

No reporting on political ties

Thiel is a citizen of Germany, the United States, and New Zealand; as of last year,  he was reportedly in the process of acquiring yet another passport, from Malta. In 2016, he donated $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign and endorsed him from the stage at the Republican National Convention. After Trump won, Thiel served on his transition team.

Johnson, who said that he was also an informant for Buma, told Insider that he believes that Thiel’s reporting to the FBI was largely limited to foreign contacts and attempts by foreign governments to penetrate Silicon Valley. Thiel has publicly called on the FBI to investigate Google’s ties to the Chinese government.

Thiel, Johnson said, was directed by the FBI not to report on his interactions with Donald Trump or other US political figures.

Many of the politicians that Thiel has bankrolled — including Trump, Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, and Blake Masters, a former Arizona senatorial candidate — have repeatedly attacked the bureau and its leadership in public. In 2022, Vance, whose campaign and affiliated PACs received a total of $15 million from Thiel, falsely claimed that the FBI had illegally wiretapped Trump’s phone. Vance accused the bureau of “harassing faithful Christians” and pledged to block all of President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice nominees in retaliation for the Trump prosecutions. (Most but not all of Thiel’s donations occurred in early 2021, before the launch of Vance’s campaign and the many false claims he made over the course of the race.)

While serving as an FBI informant, Thiel bankrolled the campaign of now-Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio. Vance has made a number of false and disparaging claims about the FBI.

Masters, whose campaign received $20 million of support from Thiel, has endorsed the false conspiracy theory that undercover FBI agents fomented the January 6, 2021, insurrection and accused the FBI agents who executed a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago of “going after President Trump because they hate him.” (As with Vance, most but not all of Thiel’s donations to Masters occurred before Masters made his most inflammatory and baseless statements during the later stages of his campaign.)

Thiel is reportedly planning to sit on the sidelines of the 2024 election.

Neither Trump, Masters, nor Vance responded to requests for comment.

Doing business with the FBI

Some of Thiel’s business interests rely on the FBI and other government agencies as potential revenue sources. He retains a 10% stake in Palantir, a data company that has sold more than a billion dollars of software and related services to the federal government, including the Pentagon, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI. A $250 million contract with the US Army in September adds to the evidence that Palantir is essentially “a government service provider,” a financial analyst said

Thiel also backed Boldend, a spyware company marketing itself as an American competitor to the Israeli NSO Group, Forbes reported last year. NSO’s products have been bought and tested by the FBI. 

(Mithril Capital, another entity Thiel cofounded, was reportedly a subject of FBI interest in 2019, although nothing appears to have come of the inquiry. Mithril’s co-founder did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The FBI did not respond to a question regarding the Mithril matter.)

Johnson, who revealed Thiel’s FBI ties, is a tech investor and far-right agitator with long-standing ties to both Thiel and to the network of MAGA political operators surrounding Trump. He claims to have had a hand in founding Clearview, a facial-recognition startup, and Traitwell, a genomics company. According to Forbes, he worked with Thiel to help vet and select senior staffers for the Trump transition in 2017.

Johnson claimed to be an FBI informant in a lawsuit he filed against Clearview’s founders. He told Insider he recruited Thiel to serve as a CHS and introduced him to Buma, the FBI special agent who was Johnson’s handler. 

Charles Johnson (left) with Rep. Matt Gaetz (right) and Gaetz’s now-wife Ginger Gaetz (center), in 2021. Johnson told Insider that he brokered an introduction between Thiel and the FBI special agent who would become his handler.

It’s unclear whether Thiel remains a CHS for the FBI. Johnson told Insider that he believes that the relationship has been severed but declined to offer details; Buma wrote in his statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was ordered to cease contact with all his sources in late 2022.

Johnson’s ties to Trump and Thiel are well-documented. But he is also a self-identified “troll” with a history of spreading false information and smearing his rivals. In this instance, his claims are corroborated by two additional sources, as well as supported in part by a third who says Thiel and Buma spoke occasionally.

‘Join up or get crushed’

Buma came forward in August as a whistleblower, alleging that the FBI under Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr shut down his efforts to determine whether Rudy Giuliani had been compromised by a Russian asset. Insider was the first news organization to report on his claims.

In a statement prepared for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Buma said that FBI headquarters had closed his most valuable human sources, including one code-named “Genius,” who had reported on far-right figures involved with planning the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Johnson told Insider that “Genius” was his CHS code name. Insider was able to confirm Johnson’s identity as “Genius” with two additional sources. The statement does not mention Thiel.

Thiel speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016. He donated $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign in 2016. He backed MAGA-aligned congressional candidates in 2020 and 2022. He has said he will be staying on the sidelines of the 2024 presidential race.

In a written statement to Insider, Johnson said he was stepping forward as a CHS to support Buma’s effort as a whistleblower to bring about what Buma believes to be necessary reforms in how the FBI handles informants. Johnson said that he was exposing Thiel’s work as a CHS as retribution for what Johnson perceives to be bad decision-making by the Founders Fund, Thiel’s venture-capital firm.

Johnson also told Insider he felt betrayed that Thiel did not invest in Johnson’s own startups, which he had expected Thiel to do in exchange for introducing him to Buma. Johnson said that he told Thiel that by offering the FBI a window into his contacts with foreign governments, he could demonstrate his loyalty to the United States. 

He described Thiel’s motivation for working with Buma as a kind of hedge in an environment where extravagant wealth no longer affords the safety it used to. He pointed to ProPublica’s reporting on Thiel’s income-tax avoidance and the death of Jeffrey Epstein, who had reportedly scheduled several meetings with Thiel.

“I told him to join up or get crushed,” Johnson said. 

The FBI’s recruitment of Thiel as a CHS puts him among the bureau’s most prominent assets, but he is not alone among right-wing figures who have collaborated with the bureau. Trump himself offered to help the FBI fight organized crime in Atlantic City in the early 1980s. Truth Social, the Trump-owned social-media company, has quietly tipped the FBI off to users who threaten violence, even as it seeks to cash in on their anger. At least two of the rioters who showed up to storm the Capitol on January 6 were also FBI informants, as was Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys leader who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and other felonies stemming from the Capitol breach. Tarrio reportedly served as a source for federal and local law enforcement, assisting with the prosecution of more than a dozen people.

Mattathias Schwartz is chief national security correspondent at Insider. He can be reached at [email protected].

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