US spy­ing onHuawei an un­de­clared in­va­sion

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

The world’s at­ten­tion has been so fo­cused else­where lately that the United States’ lat­est ag­gres­sion has gone largely un­no­ticed by many people.

I am­not talk­ing about the huge num­ber of US troops be­ing sent to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Gre­nada to in­vade and in­ter­vene, but an in­fil­tra­tion, co­de­named Shot­giant, con­ducted by the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency into the e-mail servers of China’s tele­com gi­antHuawei Tech­nolo­gies. Shot­giant is aimed not just at spy­ing onHuawei, but also Chi­nese lead­ers, govern­ment en­ti­ties and banks, and po­ten­tially a long list of cor­po­ra­tions and na­tions that useHuawei’s equip­ment. So in a sense, it is not just an in­tru­sion into China, but an in­va­sion on a global scale.

The scan­dal, as ex­posed last weekend by the for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den through the NewYork Times and Ger­man weekly Der Spiegel, shows the reck­less NSA spy­ing be­hav­ior en­dorsed by the US govern­ment.

It would be laugh­able now for any US govern­ment lead­ers, Con­gress­men or in­tel­li­gence chiefs to again talk about cy­ber se­cu­rity and bluff about such a threat from China or any other coun­try. The US-China cy­ber se­cu­rity work­ing group set up last year was meant to in­crease mu­tual trust and co­op­er­a­tion in the newarena, but the NSA ac­tiv­i­ties have cast se­ri­ous doubt on the sin­cer­ity of the US side.

What is even more shame­less is that the US has not ad­mit­ted any wrong­do­ing, but in­stead uses na­tional se­cu­rity as a pre­text to jus­tify its ac­tions. It is a pre­text that has been overused by the US since Sept 11, 2001, to jus­tify its con­duct of in­vad­ing the pri­vacy of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and the pri­vacy of people around the world.

Huawei has con­demned the de­spi­ca­ble act. Se­nior Vice-Pres­i­dent in North Amer­ica Wil­liam Plummer pointed out the irony that what the NSA is do­ing toHuawei is ex­actly what the US has al­ways charged that the Chi­nese are do­ing throughHuawei. “If such es­pi­onage has been truly con­ducted, then it is known that the com­pany is in­de­pen­dent and has no un­usual ties to any govern­ment, and that knowl­edge should be re­layed pub­licly to put an end to an era of mis- and dis­in­for­ma­tion,” Plummer said.

He is clearly re­fer­ring to an Oc­to­ber 2012 US­House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee re­port which ad­vised US com­pa­nies to avoid do­ing busi­ness with­Huawei and an­other Chi­nese tele­com firm ZTE, cit­ing na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns. No ev­i­dence was given in that re­port.

While people are wait­ing for any ev­i­dence to be pre­sented by the US, in­clud­ing by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama who is clearly aware of the NSA hack­ing, it­may be too naive for them to be­lieve that na­tional se­cu­rity is ac­tu­ally the real or only rea­son be­hind the NSA act.

There is no doubt that too many in­ter­est groups, whether law­mak­ers, lob­by­ists and businesses, ben­e­fit and profit from fear­mon­ger­ing about China and Chi­nese tech com­pa­nies.

That is prob­a­bly also why many think tank folks and those so-called cy­ber se­cu­rity ex­perts have shown no in­ter­est in an­a­lyz­ing the lat­est NSA scan­dal again­stHuawei. What about James Clap­per, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence, orMichael Hay­den, the for­mer chief of NSA and Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency, or Mike Rogers, chair­man of the­House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee who presided over the re­lease of the 2012 re­port again­stHuawei and ZTE, or even Pres­i­dent Obama? All of them have been point­ing fin­gers at China as a cy­ber se­cu­rity threat.

The lat­est rev­e­la­tions again show why the US govern­ment has been so vi­cious in hunt­ing down Snow­den, since only 1 per­cent of the ma­te­ri­als he gave The Guardian have been made pub­lic so far. What about the re­main­ing 99 per­cent?

It is time for the US to rec­tify Huawei’s rep­u­ta­tion. It is time for Obama to or­der a stop to the Shot­giant in­va­sion and apol­o­gize. Other­wise the next time he gives an elo­quent speech on the sub­ject, people won’t be able to feel any hon­esty, only sly­ness. The au­thor, based in­Wash­ing­ton, is deputy edi­tor of China Daily USA. chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­

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