The Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) informed its international counterparts that Huawei allegedly received funding from Chinese security agencies.
As reported by The Times, the United States shared these details with intelligence agencies in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
With 5G on the horizon and Huawei moving to supply components that will power many of those networks, such claims about the company’s funding could drastically impact their international relations.
What the C.I.A. Shared
The C.I.A.’s claims state that Huawei received funding from the Central National Security Commission of the Communist Party of China, as well as the People’s Liberation Army, and the Chinese state intelligence network.
As Huawei presents itself as an independent company unaffected by its nation’s government, this accusation threatens to weaken its reputation. It doesn’t help that long-time dissenters of Huawei have repeatedly pointed out Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, as a former member of the People’s Liberation Army as well.
While it’s true that Zhengfei’s service was short, and his position was not of major importance, the founder repeatedly expressed that the People’s Liberation Army has no bearing on his current business. Such obvious discrepancies are calling the founder’s claims into question, as well as the rest of Huawei’s previous defenses.
A History of Huawei Suspicion
The C.I.A.’s provocative information comes after years of ongoing U.S. suspicion and legal investigations against the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer. Their main concern is the Chinese government’s potential to influence Huawei by including espionage components within their shipped smartphone hardware.
Huawei consistently denies its association with China’s government. Both the company and the founder claim accusers lack evidence and appear to be motivated by political goals. And in truth, until this report, claims and concerns of U.S. officials against Huawei had remained largely speculative.
But the CIA is evidently now confident enough to share their assertions abroad. Meaning, this report provides the first signs of concrete evidence behind the U.S. governments concerns.
What’s Next for Huawei?
Even before the C.I.A.’s reporting, the U.S. Department of Defense banned the local selling of Huawei products. On top of that, the FCC suggested rules aiming to ban U.S. telecommunications networks from operating with Huawei equipment.
Despite U.S. resistance and their insistence other nations follow suit, Huawei products are accepted and sold throughout European nations. As stated by the European Union (E.U.), it has a strategy to keep its incoming 5G networks protected. If the C.I.A.’s allegations are confirmed, it’s uncertain how that revelation will affect the E.U.’s opinion and dealings with the company.
As of now, it’s important to keep in mind this information remains an assertion and has not yet been confirmed. But in either case, the C.I.A.’s claims are sure to further reinforce U.S. fears and defense against Chinese telecom companies.