Home Security US intelligence chiefs level spying charges at Huawei, ZTE

US intelligence chiefs level spying charges at Huawei, ZTE

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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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.