The House Intelligence Committee brought executives from two Chinese telecommunications gear makers to Capitol Hill to press them on potential threats they pose to national security regarding their workings in USA.
“I can say that I am a little disappointed today,” committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said at the end of the hearing investigating Huawei and ZTE. I was hoping for a little more transparency… Other inconsistencies worry me greatly.”
Rogers and his fellow committee members pressed executives from the two Chinese companies repeatedly; they indicted that some of their equipment has been installed with codes to help spying and relay sensitive information back to China. The committee alleged that the companies either take orders from the Chinese government or are at least influenced by it. They feared that the Chinese government will be able to use the companies’ networking gear to snoop on American companies and individuals.
“How will you deal with your Chinese government if they order you to give information about your customers in the United States?” C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, asked Huawei Senior Vice President Charles Ding.
The Huawei executive told the committee that the company would reject the request.
“We have never, nor will we ever, harm the networks of our customers,” Ding said through an interpreter. “This would be corporate suicide.”
“Even if it meant you would go to jail?” Ruppersberger pressed.
“Why would the company put us in jail?” Ding replied.
The three-hour hearing was filed with similar exchanges between the doubtful lawmakers and the companies’ representative.
The committee, which has visited China to meet with executives from both companies there, is set to release a report in two to three weeks that will likely include suggestions for policy makers and the private sector for next steps.