In what would reduce the cloud of confusion looming over Huawei’s prospects in recent times, no clear evidence that indicates the company spied for China has been found. The findings come at the end of a White House-ordered review into the security risks to telecommunications companies in the US by suppliers.
A revelation made recently by the head of the US House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee warned US companies against doing business with China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The committee report stated that the company’s equipment “could open doors for spying”.
No evidence yet
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden was quoted as saying, “The White House has not conducted any classified inquiry that resulted in clearing any telecom equipment supplier”. In fact, Hayden shared that Huawei was kept away from being part of an emergency network for first responders a year ago “due to U.S. government national security concerns”.
China-based, Huawei Technologies is a leading maker of telecommunications gear, and a revelation as such would hit its ambitions hard. Huawei, though was not the only company flagged in the report. ZTE, another leading name in the manufacturing of telecommunications equipment, based in Shenzhen, China, too had been mentioned, citing security risks.
The security review ordered for by the White House had intelligence agencies and other departments conduct a largely classified inquiry, looking into reports of suspicious activity and asking detailed questions of nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers.
“We knew certain parts of government really wanted,” evidence of active spying, said one of the people, who requested anonymity. “We would have found it if it were there”.
At the time, Mike Rogers was quoted as saying, “If I were an American company today … and you are looking at Huawei, I would find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property; if you care about your consumers' privacy and you care about the national security of the United States of America”.
The Michigan Republican, a former FBI special agent made the revelation on the CBS television programme '60 Minutes'. The report adds that the excerpts shown in the programme do not specifically give out any evidence to back Rogers' concerns.
“The excerpts released by 60 Minutes did not include specific references to ZTE. It was not immediately clear whether Rogers and the committee were blackballing ZTE as well,” as per reports at the time.
“One of the main reasons we are having this investigation is to educate the citizens in business … in the telecommunications world,” Representative CA Ruppersberger of Maryland, the panel's top Democrat, was quoted as saying at the program by reports.
The committee, in its opinion, shared that by allowing Huawei to “build and maintain large swaths of America's telecommunications infrastructure opens a door for the Chinese government to spy on the U.S. government and engage in industrial espionage.”