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Thursday, 15 February 2018 05:47

US intelligence chiefs level spying charges at Huawei, ZTE

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China has mocked what it calls the "American sense of insecurity" after the heads of six US intelligence agencies claimed that phones made in China might be used for spying.

Concern was voiced about the phones made by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei during a US Senate hearing on Tuesday, the Russian TV channel RT reported.

The FBI’s Christopher Wray, the CIA’s Mike Pompeo, the NSA’s Michael Rogers, National Intelligence director Dan Coats, Defence Intelligence Agency director Robert Ashley and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency director Robert Cardillo testified at the hearings.

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr, told the hearing: “The focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecoms like Huawei and ZTE Corp that are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government.”

When asked if they would use phones from these companies, all six intelligence chiefs replied in the negative.

“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” said Wray.

“That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”

Reacting to the views voiced at the hearing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing: “If even the US thinks it is surrounded by threats, what should other countries do?

“I don’t know where the US’ sense of insecurity comes from. But I want to emphasise that in this world there is no such thing as absolute security.”

Huawei encountered choppy waters in the US in January, with a deal for AT&T to sell its phones on plans being cancelled at the last minute.

Additionally, Verizon is reported to have come under pressure from the US Government to stop selling Huawei devices and yielded.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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