Public records show that Chinese company Huawei, a company accused of passing “intimate” information to the Chinese government, employed 18 lobbyists on Capitol Hill in 2012, including former Democratic Congressman Don Bonker of Washington.
Former CIA and NSA director and retired four-star General Michael Hayden told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) that telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies has passed information to the Chinese government.
General Hayden said Western intelligence agencies had information about Huawei’s clandestine activities and it had, at a minimum, “shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with,” he said. “I think that goes without saying – it’s one reality,” he said.
According to lobbying records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Huawei is heavily influential on Capitol Hill. In 2012 alone, Huawei spent $1,677,500 on lobbying spread over six outside firms and its own internal lobbying shop, with a total of 18 lobbyists representing it.
Issues the company paid the lobbyists to represent it on include telecommunications and broadcasting, as well as trade policy.
Bonker, the ex-congressman from Washington, served as a Democrat in the U.S. House from 1975 until 1989.
For its part, Huawei denies Hayden’s accusations, saying he does not have evidence to support them.
“It’s time to put up or shut up,” Huawei’s global cyber security officer and former U.K. government chief information officer, John Suffolk, said.
But AFR reports that “General Hayden said that given the ‘over-arching national security risks a foreign company building your national telecoms networks creates, the burden of proof is on Huawei.'”
Huawei has fallen “well short” of meeting the test, he [Hayden] said.
“These guys are not even transparent to themselves,” he said. “There’s no transparency around who appoints the board or who controls the ownership of the business.”
“And there’s no independent Chinese government oversight committee that could give us confidence that Huawei would not do what they promised not to do.”