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Billionaire investor Peter Thiel has been a Donald Trump supporter since the early days of Trump’s presidential campaign, and his long standing support may be about to pay off.
According to a new report from Vanity Fair, Thiel is being considered for a top intelligence position that would provide him direct access to the president.
“I cannot overstate his impact on the transition,” Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, told Vanity Fair. “You will see in the near term that Peter will be taking on new responsibilities, like intelligence.”
According to the report, Thiel is being considered for the role of chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board – PIAB for short. The PIAB independently monitors the intelligence community and advises the president.
Even without a formal position in the Trump administration, Thiel has already wielded significant influence within it, Vanity Fair reported. He’s advised incoming staff on intelligence and technology issues and helped fill positions in the federal government, according to the report.
A venture capitalist, Thiel has long had connections to the intelligence community through Palantir, a data analysis and technology firm that he founded and for which he serves as chairman. Palantir has had contracts with numerous intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.
Thiel stood out in Silicon Valley for his backing of Trump, but he’s long been known for his willingness to buck convention. He started the Thiel Fellowship to hand out $100,000 grants to students who agree not to go to college, and effectively took down Gawker after funding an invasion of privacy lawsuit on behalf of Hulk Hogan.
He originally made a name for himself cofounding what would become Paypal, and successfully placing early winning bets on Facebook and SpaceX.