The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY BILL GERTZ

Three Re­pub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress are urg­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter to in­ves­ti­gate the se­cu­rity risks to Amer­i­can fa­cil­i­ties and mil­i­tary forces in South Korea posed by a Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany’s role in a new wire­less net­work in the coun­try.

“The United States can­not risk hav­ing its sen­si­tive or clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion com­pro­mised by for­eign Chi­nese spy­ware that could pro­vide a means for Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties to ac­cess Amer­i­can data,” Rep. Steve Chabot, Sen. Mark Kirk and Sen. John Cornyn stated in the Dec. 22 let­ter. Mr. Chabot chairs the House Small Busi­ness Com­mit­tee. Mr. Kirk lost his re-elec­tion race in Illi­nois in Novem­ber, but Mr. Cornyn of Texas is the Se­nate Re­pub­li­can whip.

The con­cerns are fo­cused on Huawei Tech­nolo­gies, which has been linked to the Chi­nese mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence ser­vices by the U.S. govern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the law­mak­ers, South Korea’s govern­ment is in “ac­tive dis­cus­sions” with Huawei for a con­tract to build a na­tion­wide 5G — for fifth gen­er­a­tion — wire­less net­work.

“Huawei has been un­der in­tense scru­tiny from the U.S. govern­ment given its close ties to the Chi­nese govern­ment,” the law­mak­ers said, not­ing a 2012 House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence probe that con­cluded that “Huawei may have de­lib­er­ately in­cor­po­rated vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in its equip­ment that could be ex­ploited by the Chi­nese mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity ser­vices,” ac­cord­ing to the let­ter.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the fed­eral govern­ment’s Com­mit­tee on For­eign In­vest­ment in the United States, which mon­i­tors for­eign ac­qui­si­tions of U.S. as­sets, was urged by the com­mit­tee to ban Huawei from govern­ment con­tracts.

“The find­ings of this re­port have led to a de facto ban on Huawei’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in ma­jor telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions projects in the United States and Aus­tralia,” the mem­bers said.

Huawei’s role in the South Korean net­work also raises cy­ber­se­cu­rity con­cerns. The net­work will sup­port “highly sen­si­tive ar­eas” such as U.S. mil­i­tary, in­tel­li­gence and diplo­matic fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing an ad­vanced telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work in Jeju-do, an is­land off the south­ern­most tip of the Korean penin­sula, the con­gress­men said.

The law­mak­ers warned that al­low­ing Huawei to take part in the net­work “pre­sents po­ten­tial se­cu­rity con­cerns about China’s in­creas­ing net­work pen­e­tra­tion across sen­si­tive ar­eas of the East China Sea.”

The new 5G net­work also could give China ac­cess to thou­sands of in­ter­net-linked de­vices called the “In­ter­net of Things” in the re­gion. “As such U.S. mil­i­tary, in­tel­li­gence, diplo­matic or civil­ian per­son­nel that con­nect to a Huawei-backed 5G net­work could have their data com­pro­mised,” they stated.

The let­ter also quoted for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency Di­rec­tor Michael Hayden, who warned that Huawei in the past has “shared with the Chi­nese state in­ti­mate and ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of for­eign telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems it is in­volved with.” The con­gress­men asked Mr. Carter to “in­ves­ti­gate the cy­ber se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tions of Huawei’s po­ten­tial par­tic­i­pa­tion in the South Korea’s 5G net­work” and to raise the se­cu­rity con­cerns in dis­cus­sions with South Korean lead­ers.

Huawei spokesman Wil­liam Plum­mer said the com­pany is a lead­ing provider of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture equip­ment that is “world­proven and trusted.” Huawei gear is used in over 170 mar­kets, in­clud­ing Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin and North Amer­ica, he said.

“These are demon­stra­ble facts,” he said. “These are not ru­mors, in­nu­endo, hearsay, or any other type of ground­less sug­ges­tions that can­not and have never been proven.”

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