SAN FRANCISCO—A Congressional committee Monday (Oct. 8) warned American operators not to buy equipment from China's leading telecom equipment makers, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., citing potential risk to U.S. national security interests.
In a report, the House Intelligence Committee strongly encouraged U.S. telecom operators to seek other vendors for their projects.
"Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems," the report stated.
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Other governments and organizations have previously expressed concerns about the potential security threat posed by Huawei and ZTE, the world's first and fifth largest suppliers of wireless communications infrastructure equipment, respectively. Both companies are suspected of having ties to the Chinese government, military and China's ruling communist party. The firms have been accused of designing communications equipment to allow unauthorized access by the Chinese government, a charge that has stoked fears over national security and the potential for corporate espionage.
The report recommended that the U.S. "view with suspicion the continued penetration of the U.S. telecommunications market by Chinese telecommunications companies." It further recommended that the U.S. block acquisitions, takeovers, or mergers involving Huawei and ZTE.
Both companies issued statements Monday criticizing the report's findings.
The committee's report was particularly critical of Huawei, saying that the investigation turned up evidence of bribery, copyright infringement, immigration violations and discriminatory practices by the firm. The committee said it would refer these allegations to the Justice Department for review and possible investigation.