Last updated: December 21, 2011 - 11:43am
Congress is launching an investigation into whether Huawei Technologies Co. and other Chinese telecommunications firms pose a potential national-security threat as they expand in the US.
The probe by the House intelligence committee marks an intensification of U.S. scrutiny of the potential threat, in particular from Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE Corp. Intelligence officials have shared with lawmakers concerns that such expansion could give China a foothold for electronic spying in the US, according to a congressional aide. The congressional probe follows a recent Wall Street Journal article on a White House review of the potential security threats posed by foreign telecommunications firms that incorporate their equipment into U.S. systems. The White House review was spurred in part by concerns over Huawei. The committee has already taken an initial look at the issue, including briefings and interviews with intelligence officials. The probe will examine how Chinese firms are supplying components of U.S. telecommunications systems and the security threats that activity may pose. It will also look at the intelligence-collection capabilities that access to U.S. systems would provide a foreign government. U.S. officials worry the Chinese government could access that equipment and track phone calls or e-mails, or disrupt or destroy a communications system. It's also possible that such access could provide an avenue for eavesdropping on phone calls or intercepting emails in combination with other technologies, according to an industry specialist.
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