October 18, 2012 - 10:11 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A White House-ordered review of security risks posed by suppliers to U.S. telecommunications companies found no clear evidence that Huawei Technologies Ltd had spied for China, Reuters reported citing two people familiar with the probe.
Instead, those leading the 18-month review concluded early this year that relying on Huawei, the world's second-largest maker of networking gear, was risky for other reasons, such as the presence of vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
These previously unreported findings support parts of a landmark U.S. congressional report last week that warned against allowing Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE Corp to supply critical telecom infrastructure.
It is unclear if security vulnerabilities found in Huawei equipment were placed there deliberately. It is also not clear whether any critical new intelligence emerged after the inquiry ended.
Aided by intelligence agencies and other departments, those conducting the largely classified White House inquiry delved into reports of suspicious activity and asked detailed questions of nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers, according to the people familiar with the probe.
"We knew certain parts of government really wanted" evidence of active spying, said one of the people, who requested anonymity. "We would have found it if it were there."
Last week's report from the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence Committee noted the potential for spying through Huawei gear installed to manage traffic on wireless networks. The committee also criticized Huawei's leadership for failing to provide details about its relationships with Chinese government agencies.
Huawei, whose chief executive officer, Ren Zhengfei, founded it 25 years ago after he was laid off by the Chinese army, has rejected the House report as unfair and inaccurate. China's Commerce Ministry has also called the accusations "groundless."
"Huawei is a $32 billion independent multinational that would not jeopardize its success or the integrity of its customers' networks for any government or third party. Ever," the company's U.S. spokesman Bill Plummer said.