KEY POINTS

  • Top Trump officials say they have evidence that Chinese telecom giant Huawei can covertly access wireless networks in the U.S. and around the world
  • Huawei swiftly shot back at the claims, saying it doesn't even have the capability to penetrate U.S. networks
  • Germany will soon announce whether it will allow Huawei onto its 5G rollout, after the U.K. said the company would play a "limited role" in its next generation networks

Top officials in the Trump administration say they have concrete evidence that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei can covertly penetrate wireless networks in the U.S. and around the world, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.  These "backdoors" were originally intended for law enforcement. 

“We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said.  

“Huawei does not disclose this covert access to its local customers, or the host nation national security agencies,” another senior official said. 

The U.S. officials did not provide further details about the "backdoor" access, or specific cases where Huawei has covertly penetrated U.S. networks, but has said that the Chinese company has had this "backdoor" capability for over a decade.

"U.S. allegations of Huawei using lawful interception are nothing but a smokescreen – they don't adhere to any form of accepted logic in the cybersecurity domain. Huawei has never and will never covertly access telecom networks, nor do we have the capability to do so," a Huawei spokesperson said in response. 

The U.S. has been trying to convince the U.K. and Germany to ban Huawei from their 5G networks. The U.K. has said it will allow Huawei to have a “limited role” in its 5G rollout, angering the Trump administration. 

Germany has said that a decision on the Huawei issue is “imminent.” Reuters reported Tuesday that lawmakers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat party have written a position paper that advocates tougher regulations on 5G vendors but stops short of a ban on the Chinese telecom giant.