WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Demand Progress Education Fund sent a FOIA request to the State Department requesting documentation of Secretary Anthony J. Blinken’s meeting with tech industry executives during his official trip to California on October 16-17, 2022.
According to reporting by The Guardian, Secretary Blinken was scheduled to meet with tech executives on this official trip to “highlight the key role for technology diplomacy in advancing US economic and national security.” The same report notes that the “agency shared few other details about the visit, and did not respond to a request for comment” regarding the visit.
In 2022, Politico reported on the covert influence of former Google CEO Eric E. Schmidt on the Biden Administration. Given Secretary Blinken’s past professional relationship through his consulting firm WestExec Advisors’ work on behalf of Schmidt Futures, this raises questions of Schmidt and other tech executives’ influence on the Department of State’s affairs.
“Secretary Blinken’s ties to Google and other Big Tech companies raise troubling questions about the influence these companies are having on State Department policy,” said Demand Progress Education Fund Legal Director Ginger Quintero-McCall. “It is essential for the American public to have more information about Secretary Blinken’s meetings with Big Tech companies in order to assess the impacts of those ties.”
Secretary Blinken, who consulted on behalf of Google parent company Alphabet as well as Facebook during his time at WestExec Advisors, publicly referred to Schmidt as a “friend” at the 2021 Global Emerging Technology Summit. Additionally, Secretary Blinken’s financial disclosure statement revealed him to be the owner of up to $250,000 in Alphabet stock, up to $250,000 in Apple stock, and up to $100,000 in Facebook stock.