Two Chinese companies, Huawei Technologies and ZTE, Inc., were found to be national security threats after the House Intelligence Committee concluded its yearlong investigation. They are deemed a threat due to their extreme loyalty to the Chinese government and their attempts to extract information from American companies.
A report released Monday revealed that the Committee obtained Huawei documents from former employees which showed that it supplied cyberwarfare services to the People’s Liberation Army. According to the U.S. State Department, the PLA has been officially designated a terrorist organization since 1997. Additionally, former and current employees of Huawei admitted to the Committee that the company engaged in “potential violations” related to corruption, copyright infringement, immigration, and bribery in the United States.
Many of the companies that sell telecommunications equipment, such as Huawei and ZTE, are originally from outside of the U.S. and therefore give rise to national security concerns. The telecommunications equipment operates wireless networks, similar to those used by Verizon and AT&T. There is a growing concern that allowing these Chinese companies to operate in the U.S. would allow them to easily intercept communications.
The news conference was led by Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan (The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) and Representative C.A. Ruppersberger of Maryland. Both Representatives urged Chinese companies to be more transparent and cooperative in their dealings with the U.S. Furthermore, Representative Rogers explained the Committee’s concern that the companies were merely extensions of the Chinese government, and therefore provided a prime outlet for Chinese spying in the U.S.
Huawei condemned the Committee’s report, saying that it was based on rumors and speculation as opposed to hard facts. Mitt Romney has called for a more confrontational approach to Chinese business efforts, but has mainly focused on currency market interventions than what is at issue here. In comparison, President Obama has taken a broader approach by blocking a Chinese deal on wind farm projects in Oregon where drone aircraft training is, and by filing a report with the World Trade Organization accusing China of unfairly subsidizing its exports of automobile parts.
Do you think that Chinese companies, such as Hauwei Technologies and ZTE, Inc., are a security risk in the U.S., which warrant stricter measures? How do you think the candidates will fall on this issue?