Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. Warns Germany: Using Huawei Could Crimp Intelligence-Sharing Between Agencies

U.S. Warns Germany: Using Huawei Could Crimp Intelligence-Sharing Between Agencies

It is the first time the United States has directly threatened a country with an intelligence blackout for using Huawei equipment, and escalates Washington's already-heated battle with the Chinese telecoms giant.

Germany can forget about getting as much intelligence from USA spooks as it now does if it allows Chinese telecoms to build 5G infrastructure, a letter from the American ambassador in Berlin has reportedly warned.

The U.S. has been openly skeptical of Huawei's independence since at least 2012, when the House Intelligence Committee issued a report criticizing the tech company over its ties to China's communist government (and possibly the military) and a lack of transparency.

In Germany, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday on a ZDF talk show that Germany did not want to ban Huawei but said that Berlin will change the law to ensure that all components used in the 5G networks will be secure.

While the U.S. Embassy said it could not comment on diplomatic communications, "the U.S. position on 5G network security is well known".

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The German Economy Ministry confirmed that the letter had been received.

Germany is opening bids for its 5G infrastructure project next week.

The concern appears to revolve around the potential for Huawei equipment to be used by China for espionage. Here, a billboard for the Chinese telecom giant is seen in the Berlin Hauptbahnhof railway station.

In the letter, German officials are warned that the U.S. will stop sharing certain intelligence information with Germany's intelligence agencies if the nation allows Huawei Technologies equipment to be used as part of its 5G infrastructure. "The Americans will assume that everything we share with Germany will end up with the Chinese", the official told TheWSJ, referring to what would happen if Germany continues dealing with Huawei. Thus, Huawei recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, claiming that a USA ban on federal agencies purchasing its equipment was unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Huawei has insisted that Wanzhou has done nothing illegal.

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