Huawei spies for China, says ex-CIA chief

Jul 19, 2013
A receptionist is seen behind the counter of a Huawei office in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, on October 8, 2012.

The former head of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency Michael Hayden said on Friday it "goes without saying" that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei spies for Beijing.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Hayden claimed China was engaged in unrestricted espionage against the West and said it was his belief that Huawei would have shared information with state agencies.

Asked whether Huawei represented an unambiguous threat to the US and Australia, Hayden replied: "Yes, I believe it does".

Britain, the United States and Australia have all raised concerns that Huawei's alleged ties to the Chinese state could see telecoms equipment supplied by the company used for spying and cyber-attacks.

Huawei denies it has any direct links to the Chinese state, but the US Congress last year called for its exclusion from US government contracts and it was also barred from bidding for contracts to build Australia's .

The retired general said he believed Western intelligence networks had hard evidence that Huawei had spied on behalf of the Chinese state.

"I have no reason to question the belief that's the case," said Hayden, who retired from the CIA in 2009 and who prior to that served as head of the National Security Agency (NSA).

"That's my professional judgement. But as the former director of the NSA, I cannot comment on specific instances of espionage or any operational matters.

"And, at a minimum, Huawei would have shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign it is involved with. I think that goes without saying."

Huawei's John Suffolk, who has previously described the company as the "piggy in the middle" of the broader dispute over hacking between China and the United States, reportedly dismissed Hayden's comments as tired, unsubstantiated and defamatory.

"It's time to put up or shut up," Suffolk, Huawei's global officer, told the newspaper.

Hayden said Huawei had approached him several years ago to be on the firm's American board, but it had failed to convince him it should be involved in critical communications infrastructure.

"This is not blind prejudice on my part. This was my considered view based on a four-decade career as an intelligence officer," he said.

"My conclusion was that, 'No, it is simply not acceptable for Huawei to be creating the backbone of the domestic telecommunications network in the United States, period.'

"And frankly this is where I think the state has a role to play—to ensure we don't make decisions that compromise the foundations of our national security."

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User comments : 13

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julianpenrod
1.3 / 5 (11) Jul 19, 2013
A few cogent points.
To begin with, the title is misleading, claiming for CIA head Michael Hayden saying he "believed" Huawei spies on the West. "Belief" is used to trick the unwary constantly. Legally, the word "believe" has no existence. If asked if you saw someone do something and you said you did not "believe" you had, you could be lying through your hat and can be proved to be lying and it's at best questionable if you would be held for perjury.
With respect to the telecom company being suspected of spying, how unlikely is it, then, that the many venues Western shills, quislings and dupes condemn for being "censored" overseas weren't themselves clandestine spying operations on those countries?
julianpenrod
1.3 / 5 (12) Jul 19, 2013
Note, too,PhysOrg's subtle psychological tool of adding "s" to "telecom", just like PhysOrg adds "s" to "math". In both cases it is illegitimate since, as contraction based on the first syllables of the words, neither should have "s" at the end. They make teams names like Gold and Thunder singular, and singular words plural.
Ophelia
4 / 5 (4) Jul 19, 2013
@julianpenrod

you write
Note, too,PhysOrg's subtle psychological tool of adding "s" to "telecom", just like PhysOrg adds "s" to "math".


It is my understanding that physorg is based in the UK and that in the UK it is commonplace to speak of "maths" as opposed to "math" as in the US.

Can anyone enlighten us further?
Tim_Riches
4 / 5 (2) Jul 19, 2013
If Huawei was innocent, they would do a hell of a lot more than shake their fist.
mosahlah
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 20, 2013
Wow. Common sense in our day and age. I'd been expecting stories of politician's selling our security for campaign contributions. It's probably still happening behind the scenes. I should maintain my critical perspective.
sennekuyl
1 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2013
@julianpenrod

you write
Note, too,PhysOrg's subtle psychological tool of adding "s" to "telecom", just like PhysOrg adds "s" to "math".


It is my understanding that physorg is based in the UK and that in the UK it is commonplace to speak of "maths" as opposed to "math" as in the US.

Can anyone enlighten us further?

Australian here, but we tend to loosely follow English grammar. We use "maths". "Math" sounds like a religious ceremony with a lisp.
casualjoe
3 / 5 (2) Jul 20, 2013
Plus maths stands for mathematical anti-telharsic harfatum septomin. You can't just miss out septomin or the description of the language would be completely meaningless!! This is a joke and the rest of my comment has somehow disappeared, hmmm.
casualjoe
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2013
Basically my other comment called for free and open sharing of information between nations to help everybodies development as a 21st centuary human. Then went on to call the leaders from all countries involved with this paranoid adolescents, too afraid to speak to eachother.
alfie_null
5 / 5 (3) Jul 20, 2013
Regardless of evidence, being suspicious is simply being pragmatic. Unless Huawei were in a position in which they were completely free of potential influence by the Chinese government, and its internals were sufficiently transparent to give us such assurance. It's hard to see either of these happening.

It's been well illustrated that the Chinese government will go to considerable length to commit espionage.
Guy_Underbridge
1 / 5 (2) Jul 20, 2013
It's been well illustrated that most any government will go to considerable length to commit espionage.
...fixed that for you.
la7dfa
2.8 / 5 (5) Jul 20, 2013
We have proof that USA spies on its allies and own population. I guess data and telephony is not enough. Next step would be to get a camera in every home for 24/7 surveillance. The next Xbox?

Ofcourse Huawei shares intel with their government, but that does not mean they have taps in the Huawei telecom hardware. Doing so would be suicide for Huawei in the international market.
thingumbobesquire
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 20, 2013
Hayden is currently campaigning for the incarceration of Glen Greenwald for posting articles in the Guardian exposing unconstitutional and illegal NSA surveillance practices. So, regardless of whatever Huawei is doing, Hayden himself is an advocate of a return to a tyrannical despotism that we fought a revolution to end.
VendicarE
3.5 / 5 (6) Jul 20, 2013
No evidence or facts are presented that would implicate Huawei. Just slander by the Americans.