General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had harsh words for Google’s relationship with China during a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
“The work that Google is doing in China is … indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Dunford told committee members during the defense budget hearing.
“Look, we’re the good guys. And the values that we represent, and the system that we represent is the one that will allow you, and has allowed you, to thrive,” he said in a paraphrase of how he describes the situation to “industry partners.”
Dunford characterized the work Google and other companies do in China as having “indirect benefit” before going even further.
We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit. And frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is. It’s more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a vocal opponent of some Big Tech practices, tweeted video of Dunford’s statement, calling it a “must watch video.” (RELATED: Half As Many Google Employees Protested Building Chinese Surveillance Tech As Protested Pentagon Project)
“We are in a struggle with the Chinese government over whether or not they’re going to become a regional or maybe global hegemon with values very different from ours, certainly values that do not favor freedom in the world, and we have an American company that does not want to do work with our Defense Department, which is one thing, but they’re happy to help the Chinese … military, at least indirectly,” said Hawley. “I think that’s just extraordinary.”
When asked by CNN, a Google spokesperson “declined to address Dunford’s comments that the company’s work was benefiting the Chinese military,” but did issue a statement to the network on work it does do with the Pentagon.
“We deeply respect the US military and we are working with them to solve problems in areas like cybersecurity, logistics, transportation and planning,” the spokesperson told CNN.