White House Review Finds No Proof Of Espionage By Huawei But Says Critical Security Vulnerabilities Pose Threat

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A White House-ordered review has found no clear evidence for the allegation that Huawei Technologies Ltd has spied for the Chinese government, Reuters has reported.

Quoting two persons familiar with the probe, Reuters reported that White House’s largely classified inquiry on the security risks posed by suppliers to the U.S. telecommunications delved into reports of suspicious activity by the Chinese manufacturer and asked detailed questions to nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers.

The enquiry conducted with the aid of the intelligence agencies and other departments found no evidence of espionage but concluded that Huawei, the second largest manufacturer of networking is not reliable for other reasons, such as the security vulnerabilities in the products that could be favorable to the hackers.

"We knew certain parts of government really wanted" evidence of active spying, said one of the sources who requested anonymity. "We would have found it if it were there," Reuters quoted the source as saying.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee last week recommended that Chinese telecommunications product manufacturers Huawei and ZTE Corp should not be allowed to supply critical telecommunication gears to the U.S. telecommunication companies over security concerns.

“China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes,” a report from the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said. The report also said that Huawei’s management had failed to provide the details about its connection with the Chinese government agencies. Both the companies rubbished the allegations and said the accusations were baseless and they were not spying for the Chinese government or the Chinese military.

"Huawei is a $32 billion independent multinational that would not jeopardize its success or the integrity of its customers' networks for any government or third party. Ever," company's U.S. spokesman Bill Plummer told Reuters Wednesday.

China’s Commerce Ministry said that the accusations were baseless while the country’s Foreign Ministry called “for a level playing ground” for the Chinese companies in overseas business.

However, the White House review did not say whether the security vulnerabilities found in the Huawei products were intentional or not, nor did it officially clear the charges levied against the companies.

"The White House has not conducted any classified inquiry that resulted in clearing any telecom equipment supplier," said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman to White House National Security Council. She added: “Huawei had been barred from participating in an emergency network for first responders a year ago due to U.S. government national security concerns".

Reacting to the “no evidence“ report, two officials familiar with intelligence assessments told Reuters that the U.S. agencies were more concerned about the future possibilities of espionage.

Several former U.S. government officials and security experts interviewed by Reuters agreed that the vulnerabilities in Huawei systems posed a serious security threat and poor programming has left multiple “holes” in the software.

Cisco, another networking gear maker, announced Monday that it had ended its seven-year partnership with the ZTE following an internal investigation into whether ZTE had sold Cisco networking gear to Iran.

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