Huawei deal is ‘nothing less than madness’: America issues extraordinary warning to Britain over plan to let Chinese company build UK’s 5G phone network
- US officials handed over a classified dossier of fresh allegations against Huawei
- New information, likely technical, gives weight to US claim UK could be at ‘risk’
- A decision on 5G is expected this month at meeting of National Security Council
- The PM will be given two options – block Huawei, or access to ‘non-core kit’ only
America issued an extraordinary warning to Britain over Huawei last night, insisting it would be ‘madness’ to allow the Chinese firm to build the UK’s 5G phone network.
Senior US officials handed over a classified dossier of fresh allegations against the telecoms company.
It is understood the new information, likely to be technical, provides weight to America’s claim that Britain’s infrastructure could be put at ‘risk’.
A decision on 5G is expected later this month during a meeting of the National Security Council.
The PM will be given two options – block Huawei entirely, or allow it access to ‘non-core kit’ only such as antennae.
Special relationship at risk: Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. Senior US officials handed over a classified dossier of fresh allegations against Huawei
US officials last night warned Britain could see its ‘sovereignty under threat’. They also said the UK’s intelligence-sharing relationship with America could be cut off.
President Donald Trump is said to be ‘concerned’ about the prospect of Britain using Huawei because he ‘doesn’t want anything to come between’ him and Boris Johnson.
British officials have raised concerns that blocking Huawei could lead to higher bills for consumers and delay the introduction of 5G.
Nevertheless, six US officials, including deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, flew to the UK yesterday. The team was sent to lobby the Government, believing there is still time to persuade Mr Johnson to block Huawei.
In a briefing following talks with Cabinet ministers, one official said it would ‘be nothing less than madness to allow Huawei to get into next generation tele- communication networks and vacuum up personal data’.
Another official stressed there was draft legislation in the US that would bring in ‘draconian’ rules such as ‘cutting off intelligence-sharing [with] partner countries that use Huawei in their 5G networks’.
The officials said that ‘as constructive partners and friends’ they were seeking ‘to make sure we were sharing all of the relevant information that led the US to effectively ban untrusted vendors from our networks’.
They added the US wanted ‘to make sure this new government here had the benefit of our insights and intelligence’.
One official warned of ‘Chinese intelligence officers who dual-hack as Huawei employees’, saying these included staff working for state security, which he referred to as ‘the Chinese KGB’.
The senior official also dismissed UK claims that risks could be lowered by allowing Huawei access only to non-core elements.
One official warned of ‘Chinese intelligence officers who dual-hack as Huawei employees’, saying these included staff working for state security, which he referred to as ‘the Chinese KGB’
He said: ‘It is the strong view and assessment of the United States… that any amount of equipment from untrusted Chinese vendors is too much.
‘Any amount of equipment carries risks of compromising very sensitive infrastructure and… private citizens’ data as well as corporate secrets and other sensitive information.’
Another official claimed there was an ‘appalling litany of things’, saying there was ‘no safe degree of interaction’ with the firm.
He warned that allowing Huawei in could lead to the UK to be subject to ‘coercive manipulation’ if the firm got into Britain’s infrastructure.
‘Then one’s decision-making is at peril and sovereignty is threatened because one’s autonomy is subject to those kinds of coercive pressures,’ he claimed.
In an unprecedented move, they also said that MI5 chief Sir Andrew Parker was wrong to suggest UK-US intelligence-sharing would not be affected.
An intervention by Sir Andrew (pictured) on Monday led to speculation that Mr Johnson was preparing to give the go-ahead
They said Mr Trump was ‘watching this’. One said: ‘He holds his relationship with Prime Minister Johnson very closely, very dearly.
He doesn’t want anything to come between the relationship between our two countries.
‘I know he is looking at this with some level of concern.’
An intervention by Sir Andrew on Monday led to speculation that Mr Johnson was preparing to give the go-ahead.
Sir Andrew said he had ‘no reason to think’ the transatlantic relationship would suffer.
A Huawei spokesman said: ‘We are a private company which has supplied 3G, 4G and broadband equipment to the UK’s telecoms companies for 15 years.
‘Last year two parliamentary committees concluded there is no technical reason to ban us from supplying 5G equipment.’
He added: ‘We’re confident the Government will take a decision based on evidence – not unsubstantiated allegations.’
Source: Read Full Article