A Virginia Republican congressman urged his colleagues Tuesday to beware a lobbying push by Chinese technology companies suspected of having links to Beijing’s military and cyberespionage efforts against the United States.
“Before you or your staff agrees to any meeting with lobbyists for these companies — or consider purchasing Huawei or ZTE products for personal or office use — I urge you to consider the following information,” wrote Rep. Frank R. Wolf in a “Dear Colleague” letter.
The letter notes that the House Intelligence Committee in November launched an investigation into the national security implications of the operations of Chinese technology firms Huawei and ZTE in the U.S.
Last month, the committee wrote to the U.S. subsidiaries of ZTE and Huawei, asking detailed questions about the companies’ relations with and work for Chinese government entities, special credit or other government assistance, and their pricing policies and ownership structure.
Congressional aides told The Washington Times in June that there are concerns the Chinese firms’ equipment could be used to eavesdrop on Americans if it were installed as part of the U.S. telecommunications system.
In his letter, which was circulated to all members of Congress on Tuesday, Mr. Wolf noted that then-Commerce Secretary John Bryson in March told a House Appropriations subcommitee that Huawei poses “a challenge to our country.”
“It appears that Huawei has capabilities that we may not fully detect to divert information,” Mr. Bryson said.
William Plummer, vice president of Huawei North America, said the company is cooperating with intelligence committee staff, but he dismissed Mr. Wolf’s letter as “misinformation,” calling it “truly unfortunate, whether driven by politics or competitors” of Hauwei’s.
“The fact is that every single company in this industry is using the same global supply chain and shares common vulnerabilities,” he said.
“Huawei’s independence, the integrity of its global operations, and the quality and security of its solutions are world-proven, in over 140 countries, by over 500 operators, including leading national service providers across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas,” including many U.S. allies, he said.