Huawei Poses ‘Unambiguous’ National Security Threat Says Ex-CIA Boss

by Matt Klassen on July 23, 2013

For years now Chinese companies operating here in North America have been cast in a contemptuous light, always under suspicion of operating as industrial spies for the Chinese government. The most recent accusations of such espionage were levied against telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE late last year by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, followed by a recommendation that American companies avoid business involvement with both suspects.

While the accusations against Huawei and ZTE were, up to this point, largely unsubstantiated—at least publicly—former U.S. CIA and NSA head Michael Hayden has gone on record stating there is solid evidence that Huawei, at least, has been funneling key information about foreign telecom infrastructure back to Beijing, stating that the company poses an imminent and persistent threat to national security.

But once again the details of this ‘evidence’ are scant, leading me to once again conclude that until these allegations and security concerns are presented publicly, this entire saga is nothing more than a socialist witch hunt: unsubstantiated and unjustified.

According to Hayden, at least part of the hard evidence that Huawei is a spy for the Chinese government is that the company has deep ties to the country’s reigning Communist party, a point, as I’ve said many times before, that is applicable to 99 percent of Chinese companies operating abroad. Further, Huawei has been accused of leaking important information about the telecommunications infrastructures ofAustraliaand American back to the Chinese government, although the details of these ‘leaks’ are unavailable.

“Almost every company in China is owned by the government one way or another,” Alan Webber, industry analyst and managing partner at the Altimeter Group, told the E-Commerce Times in a recent interview. “It also depends on what your definition of spying is.”

“The line bleeds over between government and private company inChina, and it is a huge gray area,” added Webber, “but we need to ask: Would a U.S. company turn over information to the CIA or NSA? It is possible. Corporations have been used for cover for government agencies.”

For its part, Huawei continues to strongly deny any untoward involvement with the Chinese government, company Global Cyber Security Officer John Suffolk going on record stating, “These tired, unsubstantiated defamatory remarks are sad distractions from real-world concerns related to espionage — industrial and otherwise — that demand serious discussion globally.

“Once again, we challenge the individuals and organizations that make these accusations to present the evidence publicly,” Suffolk added. “If they will not publish them, they should be taken for what they are: a distraction. Huawei meets the communication needs of more than a third of the planet, and our customers have the right to know what these unsubstantiated concerns are.”

In the end, while Hayden insists there exists incontrovertible evidence that Huawei poses an ‘unambiguous’ national security threat to American and Australia, the fact that this evidence remains unavailable leads me to agree with Huawei, that this is nothing more than a distraction, although I have to wonder a distraction from what?

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