HomeData company that ‘helped locate Osama Bin Laden’ recruits former Labor MP Mike KellyBusinessData company that ‘helped locate Osama Bin Laden’ recruits former Labor MP Mike Kelly

Data company that ‘helped locate Osama Bin Laden’ recruits former Labor MP Mike Kelly

A United States tech giant with close links to Western intelligence agencies has appointed former Federal Labor MP Mike Kelly to help drive its rapidly expanding operations in Australia.

The ABC can reveal Dr Kelly has taken up a job with the Silicon Valley based tech giant Palantir Technologies, just days after retiring from Parliament on health grounds.

Founded in 2004, Palantir specialises in the shadowy practice of data mining, and in January its growing global business was privately valued at $US20 billion ($30.61 billion).

“I am not in a position to retire and have no desire to,” Dr Kelly told the ABC when approached about his new role.

“I have been fortunate to be able to take up a job offer with Palantir Technologies Australia that will enable me to work within my physical limitations but still be in a position to make a difference in relation to the issues that matter to me.”

On at least two occasions in recent years, the soldier-turned-politician has publicly praised the work of Palantir, including its reported role in helping track down terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

“Companies like Palantir for example effectively vectored Osama Bin Laden’s location so these are companies and capabilities that we need to work with,” the decorated Army veteran told Federal Parliament in 2018.

A teary-eyed Mike Kelly smiles.
Mr Kelly made an emotional exit from Parliament two weeks ago.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

In the same year the Labor backbencher informed Parliament’s powerful Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security that Palantir was “providing a massive $US12 billion international effort on security issues”.

Late last month, the 60-year-old held back tears as he announced his resignation in a move that has forced a by-election in the marginal New South Wales seat of Eden-Monaro.

“I don’t believe I can continue to do the job to the extent — and with the commitment and the physical demand — that I would want to,” the former colonel said in April.

Over the past six months, Dr Kelly has undergone 10 medical procedures to address damage to his renal system, caused by severe dehydration during military tours in Iraq, Somalia and East Timor.


Kelly expected to grow Palantir’s security and defence business in Australia

American spies are known to use Palantir software to link together the huge cache of data gathered by security agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA).

Palantir software has been used by Australia’s Defence Department since 2011, and the company has secured millions of dollars in contracts with security agencies such as the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).

Dr Kelly has described his new employer as “amazing organisation” saying it was “populated with some of the finest talent and quality personnel in the world”.

“At the moment, for example, they are working in over 30 countries in the fight against COVID-19,” Dr Kelly said.

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