Mike Benz Explains Google’s Connection to CIA in Tucker Carlson Interview

The founder of a nonprofit aimed at protecting freedom of speech online exposed Google’s connections to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a wide ranging interview with Tucker Carlson last week.

“Essentially, internet free speech allowed a kind of insta-regime change operation to be able to facilitate the foreign policy establishment’s state department agenda,” Mike Benz, the founder and executive director of the Foundation for Freedom Online explained to Carlson.

Benz also worked as a State Department official under former President Donald J. Trump’s administration and has deep knowledge of how U.S. foreign policy is created and executed.

“Google is a great example of this,” he said. “Google began as a DARPA grant by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were Stanford PhDs, and they got their funding as part of a joint NSA, CIA program to chart how ‘birds of a feather flock together online through search engine aggregation.’ And then one year later they launched Google and became a military contractor quickly thereafter. They got Google Maps by purchasing a CIA satellite software, essentially, and the ability to track free speech on the internet is as a way to circumvent state control over media in places like Central Asia or all around the world was seen as a way to be able to do what used to be done out of CIA station houses or out of embassies or consulates in a way that was totally turbocharged.”


DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a government program founded in 1957 to fight the Soviets that makes “pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security.”

Currently, DARPA is overseeing more than 250 projects, ranging from weapons and stealth technology to automated voice recognition to GPS tracking.

“And all the internet free speech technology was initially created by our national security state,” Benz continued. “VPNs, virtual private networks to hide your IP address, Tor, the dark web to be able to buy and sell goods anonymously, end to end encrypted chats, all of these things were initially created as DARPA projects or as joint NSA/CIA projects to be able to help intelligence-backed groups to overthrow governments that were causing a problem.”

An in-depth analysis of the link between Google and the CIA was published in Quartz in 2017.

By the mid 1990s, the intelligence community was seeding funding to the most promising supercomputing efforts across academia, guiding the creation of efforts to make massive amounts of information useful for both the private sector as well as the intelligence community. They funded these computer scientists through an unclassified, highly compartmentalized program that was managed for the CIA and the NSA by large military and intelligence contractors. It was called the Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) project.

A second grant—the DARPA-NSF grant most closely associated with Google’s origin—was part of a coordinated effort to build a massive digital library using the internet as its backbone. Both grants funded research by two graduate students who were making rapid advances in web-page ranking, as well as tracking (and making sense of) user queries: future Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

The goal for the intelligence community was to figure out if individual web users could be identified and tracked.

This process is perfectly suited for the purposes of counter-terrorism and homeland security efforts: Human beings and like-minded groups who might pose a threat to national security can be uniquely identified online before they do harm,” the piece says. “This explains why the intelligence community found Brin’s and Page’s research efforts so appealing; prior to this time, the CIA largely used human intelligence efforts in the field to identify people and groups that might pose threats. The ability to track them virtually (in conjunction with efforts in the field) would change everything.

Benz said that from their inception, tech, and social media companies had been used by the State Department to either promote free speech in countries where citizens were toppling America’s non-preferred regimes, like in the Arab Spring in the early 2010s.

That ended, he said, when the foreign policy goals of the revolutionaries failed to align with the goals of the State Department.

“In 2014, after the coup in Ukraine, there was an unexpected countercoup where Crimea and the Donbas broke away, and they broke away with essentially a military backstop that NATO was highly unprepared for at the time,” Benz said. “They had one last Hail Mary chance, which was the Crimea annexation vote in 2014, and when the hearts and minds of the people of Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation, that was the last straw for the concept of free speech on the internet in the eyes of NATO.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter/X.
Photo “Mike Benz and Tucker Carlson” by Tucker Carlson. 





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