News & Politics

Could David Petraeus be Heading for Wall Street? Or Silicon Valley?

Is David Petraeus about to jump into the world of high finance? 

ValleyWag has gotten this terribly intriguing tip about the former general/CIA Director’s possible comeback: “He has been making the rounds at a number of New York-based venture capital and private equity firms and one very knowledgeable source said Petraeus is slated to announce a relationship shortly.” The source points to KKR & Co. as a possible landing spot. 

More intriguing still, at least to me, is speculation that Petraeus could join the high-profile data-mining outfit PalantirI can say from personal experience with Petraeus that he has been deeply impressed by the company, which did its early breakout work in the national security and intelligence communities. Petraeus even requested a meeting with the CEO after reading this story I wrote about the company in 2012. 

Petraeus had recently become CIA Director, and apparently he didn’t realize then that Palantir had a long history with his new agency. In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm, was an early backer of Palantir. And the spy agency also gave the fledgling company an extraordinary test bed for its software: 

According to a government official familiar with the episode, the CIA allowed Palantir to set up its software in the agency’s counterterrorism center, the hub of its global campaign to track down terrorists. The official was astounded that a little-known company from Silicon Valley was allowed to place its equipment on a network that pulses with some of the most highly classified intelligence the government collects. The CIA let Palantir use some of that intelligence to show off its software, the official says, an extraordinary departure from normal security protocols.

“Palantir didn’t disappoint. The official says the company worked for several months without pay and convinced the CIA that its technology could do what it claimed.”