US launches full probe of Chinese vendors

Dylan Bushell-Embling
21 Nov 2011

A US government committee has launched a full investigation the potential security threat of Chinese telecom equipment companies operating in the United States.

The House permanent select committee on intelligence (HPSCI) said in a statement that a preliminary 10-month review of Huawei and other Chinese vendors “suggests that the threat to the supply chain constitutes a rising national security concern of the highest priority.”

Chairman Mike Rogers said the investigation will review the extent to which the vendors provide the Chinese government with the opportunity to more effectively conduct online espionage - a claim Huawei in particular has repeatedly faced and denied.

“The fact that our critical infrastructure could be used against us is of serious concern,” Rogers said. “We are looking at the overall infrastructure threat and Huawei happens to be the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but there are other companies that will be included in the investigation as well.”

But he specifically advised US businesses to be cautious about deploying Huawei technology “until we can fully determine their motives.”

While Huawei has not yet commented publicly about the announcement, Chinese government officials have come to local vendors' defence.

A spokesperson from communications ministry MIIT accused the US government of trying to hold back foreign companies from competing in the US in the name of national security, according to state-run China Daily.

China's minister of commerce also called on the US government not to “politicize trade issues” and defended China's investments in the US as stimulating economic growth.

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