Retaliation? Google Whistleblower Claims FBI, SWAT, Bomb Squad Appeared at His Home
On Wednesday, former Google employee Zachary Vorhies went public as the whistleblower who spoke with Project Veritas in June, revealing the political bias in Google's "Machine Learning Fairness" program. He also told the story of police storming his home to perform a "wellness check" after he was outed as a "leaker" and after Google had sent him a demand letter.
Project Veritas released its video with Vorhies (whose identity was masked), exposing the bias in the "Machine Learning Fairness" program and its hidden camera interview footage showing a Google executive describing her work on algorithms to prevent "the next Trump situation." Shortly afterward, the whistleblower received a demand letter from Google.
Vorhies said he complied with Google's demands, including sending any Google documents he retained. But he also sent those documents to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
An anonymous account — which Vorhies said he believes belongs to a Google employee — outed him as a "leaker" on Twitter, and then he was approached by law enforcement at his residence in California. San Francisco police received a call from Google which prompted a "wellness check."
"They got inside the gate, the police, and they started banging on my door… And so the police decided that they were going to call in additional forces. They called in the FBI, they called in the SWAT team. And they called in a bomb squad," Vorhies told Project Veritas.
"From what I’ve understood from other attorneys, they are trying to establish that I’ve got some sort of mental problem in order to make their case easier. This is a large way in which they intimidate their employees that go rogue on the company," he explained.
San Francisco police confirmed to Project Veritas that they did receive a "mental health call" and went to Vorhies' address.
Yet the whistleblower said he felt compelled by his conscience to come clean. He said he was receiving a $260,000 annual salary and "had every incentive in the world to just stay at the company and cash the paycheck."
"This is an act of atonement to make my conscience clear," he said. "I've been living with this burden for 3 years. I saw something dark and nefarious going on with the company. I felt that our entire election system was going to be compromised forever by this company that told the American public that it was not going to do any evil."
The latest Project Veritas video also revealed leaked internal documents, including one revealing the involvement of "human raters" for video and a news blacklist for Google Now. Google Now is no longer in use — it was a feature of the Google search app for Android and iOS.
The blacklist included a few notable liberal sites (like Media Matters and Right Wing Watch), but arguably more notable conservative ones. The list included NewsBusters, Gateway Pundit, LifeNews, the Christian Post, American Thinker, the Daily Caller, Grabien News, RedState, Ricochet, MRC TV, Catholic News Agency, and MichelleMalkin.com, among others.
Robert Epstein, a Ph.D. psychologist who studies the search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and who concluded that Google bias may explain Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin in 2016, has previously reported on Google's blacklists.
Epstein claimed to have discovered a few other types of blacklists: the autocomplete blacklist, the Google Maps blacklist, the YouTube blacklist, the Google account blacklist, the Google News blacklist, the Google AdWords and AdSense blacklists, the search engine blacklist, and the quarantine list.
Vorhies told Project Veritas that Google is "intending to sculpt the information landscape."
Allegations of Google's political bias are nothing new. After the 2016 election, Google's then-head of multicultural marketing bragged about attempting to boost Latino turnout, hoping it would help Hillary Clinton. Last month, a Google engineer said the company's search results are intentionally biased against Trump.
When former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee told Tucker Carlson that his former employer will try to prevent President Donald Trump's reelection, he also claimed to have been bullied and fired for his conservative beliefs. Given the story of former Google senior software engineer James Damore, this seems plausible. A survey last year found that conservative employees in Silicon Valley tech companies live in fear that their political beliefs will be found out. James Damore said conservatives at Google are "in the closet" and that Google executives are digging through a secret mailing list in order to out them.
Watch Vorhies' video below.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.