During a Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, top officials from the FBI, CIA, NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency said that they would not recommend smartphones made by Huawei.
According to officials, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer poses a security threat to Americans. The six top US intelligence chiefs also extended their concerns to the telecommunication company, ZTE, for the same reason.
FBI director, Chris Wray, spoke for all opposing parties when he expressed concern about the risk involved of allowing foreign companies which are “beholden” to their governments to act within the US’s telecommunication network.
“It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information,” Wray said. “And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”
The Huawei opposition became apparent when Republican Senator, Tom Cotton, of Arkansas asked the group to raise their hands if they would recommend private American citizens to use products or services made by Huawei or ZTE. None of the officials raised their hands.
A 2012 Congress reports stated that the two Chinese companies should be treated “with suspicion”. Both Huawei and ZTE dismissed the reports’ findings, with Huawei calling them “baseless”.
Other research conducted in previous years by US intelligence agencies have repeatedly said that the China-based company poses a security risk.
Talks between Huawei and US telecommunications carrier, AT&T, to sell its smartphones came to a halt. Wray lauded the effort of telecommunication providers which try to “raise awareness on this issue”.
On Wednesday, Huawei said that they are monitoring development in Congress, however, it didn’t comment directly on the intelligence committee hearing. The company noted its popularity in regions outside of the US with notable examples in Central and Eastern Europe, according to research firm Canalys.
Huawei repeatedly declined allegations that they provide information on any citizen, government, or organization.
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