The Biden administration is investigating Huawei over concerns that its equipment could capture sensitive information from military bases and missile silos and transmit it to China. The investigation was opened by the Commerce Department shortly after Joe Biden took office. President Trump first put Huawei on the banned entities list in 2019 over national security concerns.
Huawei did not respond to a request for comment, but the Chinese embassy in Washington said the U.S. government abuses the concept of national security to go after Chinese telecommunications companies without providing any solid proof that they constitute a security threat.
The Commerce Department could ban all U.S. transactions with Huawei if it determines the company poses a national security threat, according to lawyers, academics and former officials.
The company denies allegations that it could spy on U.S. customers, but the FBI has warned that Huawei could collect any information that traverses its devices or networks and give it to the Chinese government.
A 2019 law forbidding U.S. companies from using federal subsidies to buy telecoms equipment from Huawei and tasked the FCC with compelling U.S. carriers that receive federal subsidies to purge their networks of Huawei equipment.
U.S. authorities are concerned about the safety of Huawei cell towers near sensitive military and intelligence sites, including Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.
Viaero provides mobile telephone and wireless broadband services to about 110,000 customers in the region. It said that approximately 80% of its equipment was manufactured by the Chinese firm, and that it had not been updated on rip and replace efforts in more than two years.
Rural carrier Union Wireless’s coverage area included ICBM silos near the F.E. Warren Air Force Base, and its equipment included Huawei switches, routers and cell sites. The Pentagon referred comment on the Huawei equipment to the F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
The Commerce Department probe could give additional bite to the FCC’s crackdown on Huawei, but Rick Sofield said there was nothing new in targeting Huawei.
The Commerce Department is using authority granted in 2019 to ban or restrict transactions between U.S. firms and internet, telecom and tech companies from “foreign adversary” nations including Russia and China.
The investigation into Huawei was one of the first cases using the new powers.
For more on this story, please consider these sources:
- FBI found Huawei equipment in Midwest could disrupt US nuclear communications: CNN The Hill
- CNN Exclusive: FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications CNN
- US investigates Huawei over concerns equipment near military bases could send data to China: report Fox Business
- Exclusive: U.S. probes China’s Huawei over equipment near missile silos Reuters
- FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications East Idaho News
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