Republican Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN) have sent a letter to tech giant Microsoft warning it about the dangers of doing business with China’s Huawei.
The letter followed complaints from Microsoft that U.S. officials won’t share intelligence on the Chinese tech company, which is now widely perceived as an unofficial surveillance arm of the communist Chinese state.
In comments to Bloomberg Businessweek last month, Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith complained that the U.S. government isn’t sufficiently forthright on Huawei.
“Oftentimes, what we get in response is, ‘Well, if you knew what we knew, you would agree with us,’” Smith said. “And our answer is, ‘Great, show us what you know so we can decide for ourselves. That’s the way this country works.’”
Despite the fact that the Chinese company is now blacklisted by the U.S. government, Microsoft (along with chip manufacturer Intel), still profits from Huawei, offering continued support for its laptops.
Microsoft also continues to sell products from Chinese company Hikvision, which has also been placed on a U.S. blacklist. It has also partnered with Hikvision for a summit on intelligence and security.
The Senators’ letter warns Microsoft that the threat posed by Huawei is “real and urgent.”
Citing a myriad of Huawei-related scandals, including the transfer of data from the Chinese-built African Union headquarters to servers in Shanghai, theft of advanced robotics technology from T-Mobile in the U.S., theft of intellectual property from Cisco, the apparently deliberate installation of security vulnerabilities in Huawei products, and numerous Huawei employees who are also employed by Chinese intelligence.
“The evidence, in conjunction with testimony from U.S. government officials and our allies, Britain, Japan, and Australia, makes a compelling case that Huawei servers as an intelligence-gathering apparatus for the Chinese state,” conclude the Senators.
“As Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has said, ‘Huawei is the means by which China would get into our networks and our systems, and either attempt to extract information or to corrupt it, to undermine what we’re trying to do'”.
The Senators write that they “sympathize” with Microsoft’s concern that it and other businesses aren’t allowed access to classified evidence on Huawei, and suggest that the intelligence community “could share more of this intelligence in an appropriate fashion to affected businesses.”
“We would welcome further conversation with Microsoft and other businesses about coordinating such briefings.”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.