What is the substance of the claim that Facebook is funded in part by the US government and in particular a branch which is associated with the CIA?
By: Mathew Burton
Here are the facts:
- The CIA runs a venture capital firm called In-Q-Tel. Its purpose is to find and finance companies that could benefit the CIA. They have a Web site where they list companies that they've invested in. A lot of them are companies that make tools that would help intelligence analysts deal with their information glut problems: search technologies, mapping technologies (Keyhole, the precursor to Google Earth, was an In-Q-Tel company), etc. Here's the list:
- Because In-Q-Tel is a venture capital firm that invests in technology, they naturally need a board of directors made up of people with experience in that field. This is necessary unless you want your tax dollars (assuming you're an American) to be completely mismanaged. Here's the current list of trustees: In-Q-Tel
- The first CEO was a venture capitalist named Gilman Louie.
- Louie once served on the board of a place called the National Venture Capital Association. Which stands to reason, seeing as how he's a venture capitalist.
- While Louie was on the board of NVCA, another board member was James Breyer, who runs a very successful venture capital firm called Accel Partners. Here's a list of the companies they've invested in:
- One of those companies is Facebook.
If this sounds confusing, it's probably because the connection between the CIA and Facebook is so tenuous as to be meaningless. If Facebook is suspected of being financed by the CIA simply because it's in Accel's portfolio, you could argue the same about every single company in the portfolio: Groupon! Kayak! Etsy! Who knew the CIA was behind the home-based craft trade economy! Scandalous.
Breyer has a similarly oblique connection to another person, Anita Jones, who used to run a defense research lab. This conspiracy theory rests entirely on the fact that a Facebook associate crossed paths with other members of the very small tech venture community who happened to be military/intelligence associates at one point in their career. After all, the U.S. military invented the Internet. Is it any surprise that their associates are now high up in the tech economy? source