Cybersecurity

The White House denies ordering a secret report clearing Huawei of espionage

Nigel Treblin/AP

Cue the conspiracy theories: Reuters says it got its hands on "a White House-ordered review of security risks posed by suppliers to U.S. telecommunications companies" that cleared Chinese telecom giant Huawei of allegations of actively spying on the U.S. government. But we're not quite sure what to make of the report, since the White House has denied ordering the report in the first place. "The White House has not conducted any classified inquiry that resulted in clearing any telecom equipment supplier," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Reuters. It's hard to tell if Hayden's comments mean that the White House hasn't yet cleared Huawei of espionage or if Hayden is denying that the White House was involved in the review on Huawei, or some combination of both.

But what we do have is Reuters touting an 18-month classified review on Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment in the world (and is poised to get even bigger) and its espionage capabilities. "[I]ntelligence agencies and other departments conducted the largely classified inquiry, delving into reports of suspicious activity and asking detailed questions of nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers," writes Reuters's Joseph Menn, who is getting his information from two anonymous sources who are insistent that the request came from the White House. 

According to Menn, the report states that although there are vulnerabilities in Huawei's telecommunications equipment, there is no evidence that the company is actively spying on the U.S. for China. "We knew certain parts of government really wanted [evidence of active spying] ... We would have found it if it were there," one of Menn's anonymous sources said.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire

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