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U.S. Lawmakers Warn Against Huawei and ZTE

The U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee warns U.S. companies not to do business with the top two Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturers, Huawei and ZTE, in a new report released Monday.

Following an 11-month investigation, the report states that the Committee remains “unsatisfied with the level of cooperation and candor provided by each company.” The report claims that both companies remained unforthcoming with information about their relationship with Chinese authorities.

During a news conference releasing the results of the investigation, Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers said the Intelligence Committee has received “numerous allegations” from U.S. companies about their Huawei routers sending data to China late at night.

“That’s a serious problem,” said Rogers (R-Mich.) in The Washington Post. “It could be a router that turns on in the middle of the night, starts sending back large data packs, and it happens to be sent back to China.”

According to the report, the Committee has received “multiple, credible reports” about violations Huawei officials have committed. As stated in the report, “Those allegations include:

  • Immigration violations;
  • Bribery and corruption;
  • Discriminatory behavior; and
  • Copyright infringement.

“We have to be certain that Chinese telecommunication companies working in the United States can be trusted with access to our critical infrastructure,” said Rogers in a press release. “Any bug, beacon, or backdoor put into our critical systems could allow for catastrophic and devastating domino effect of failures throughout our networks.”

Rogers says China is a known perpetrator of cyber espionage, and that Huawei and ZTE “failed to alleviate serious concerns” during the investigation. Rogers went even further telling American businesses to “use other vendors.”

In a statement released by Huawei, the company says the report conducted by the Committee “failed to provide clear information or evidence to substantiate the legitimacy of the Committee’s concerns.”

William Plummer, Huawei’s vice president of external affairs, went even further, however, saying the report was “quite strong on rhetoric” and “utterly lacking in substance,” as noted by The Washington Post.

Huawei says that although a cooperated in an “open and transparent manner, and engaged in good faith interaction,” the Committee “appears to have been committed to a predetermined outcome.”

The Committee, however, suggests that the threat to the supply chain “constitutes a rising national security concern of the highest priority.”

“It is our responsibility on the Intelligence Committee to protect our county’s national security. That is why we launched this investigation in the first place. We depend on our nation’s networks for so much of what we do every day,” said Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

Ruppersberger added, “We warn U.S. government agencies and companies considering using Huawei and ZTE equipment in their networks to take into account the affect it could have on our national security.”

In a Reuters report by Jim Wolf, he notes the panel’s warning “pertains only to devices that involve processing of data on a large scale, not Huawei and ZTE-made mobile phones.”

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