The CIA-backed data and intelligence firm Palantir doesn’t work with political campaigns, but its CEO would “make an exception” for Hillary Clinton, according to an email from billionaire media magnate Haim Saban released by Wikileaks today.
Saban, who is the chairman of Univision, Gizmodo’s parent company, wrote to Clinton campaign chief John Podesta in July of 2015, suggesting that Podesta reach out to Palantir CEO Alex Karp for potential help.
Are you familiar with Dr Alex Karp of Palantir?
They’re the real deal in identifying various groups of people and Alex is an eccentric genius. The various security and intelligence agencies use their services.
He was asked multiple times to work with various campaigns, but in a conversation I had with him yesterday, he stated that he would make only ONE exception: HRC.
Your call but worth checking it out.
Podesta replied less than four hours later:
Know him pretty well. Agree and will reach out. Thanks.
Palantir is a $20 billion secretive data analytics startup co-founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who funded lawsuits that bankrupted Gizmodo’s former parent company, Gawker Media. Thiel is also a vocal Trump supporter; he spoke on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention, recently pledged to donate $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign; and defended Trump at a press conference earlier this week.
Saban is an outspoken Hillary supporter who has reportedly contributed $10 million to Clinton’s super PAC. His suggestion that Clinton hire a shadowy company co-founded by one of Trump’s most notorious backers—and the notion that Thiel’s business partner is eager for that company to help Clinton get elected—is rather bizarre given the opposing viewpoints of the players involved.
Representatives for Palantir, Karp, Podesta, Saban, and the Clinton Campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Karp has a history of political donations to both Republicans and Democrats.
According to a search of Federal Election Commission documents, it doesn’t appear that Clinton’s campaign has disbursed any funds to Palantir Technologies, though the company could have worked on behalf of Clinton-aligned super PACs or other entities, or worked through a campaign consultant.
Palantir, which received initial funding from In-Q-Tel, the Central Intelligence Agency’s investment arm, specializes in building tools that can mine and analyze massive amounts of data. The company is currently vying to build the U.S Army’s Distributed Common Ground System, a multi-billion dollar project that helps organize and coordinate efforts across different military branches. The company has had contracts with Air Force, Marines, Navy, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security.
Palantir already works with the Clinton Global Initiative to assist in “[revolutionizing] disaster response efforts.”