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Huawei Tells Accusers ‘Put Up, or Shut Up’ Following Fresh Spying Allegations

By David Gilbert on July 19, 2013 7:59 AM EDT 0

Huawei reacts as former CIA chief accuses company of providing information on foreign telecommunications systems to Chinese government.

An excerpt of a statement from Chinese telecom equipment firm Huawei is displayed on a smartphone in front of computer screens showing the Huawei logo
An excerpt of a statement from Chinese telecom equipment firm Huawei is displayed on a smartphone in front of computer screens showing the Huawei logo

Huawei, which is the world's second biggest telecommunications company and supplies equipment to BT, O2, TalkTalk and EE in the UK, has accused the UK and US governments of trotting out "tired nonsense" about its links to the Chinese government as a way of distracting people from "the very real compromising of global networks and information that has been exposed in recent weeks."

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The statement followed accusations from former CIA chief Michael Hayden on Thursday who claimed to have knowledge of a direct link between Huawei and the Chinese government to share "intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems."

Huawei has long been accused of collusion with the Chinese government and of spying on US and UK telecommunications data through its networking equipment, though no concrete evidence has ever been produced.

"Someone says they got some proof of some sort of threat? Okay. Then put up. Or shut up. Lacking proof in terms of the former, which seems clearly the case, this is politically-inspired and racist corporate defamation, nothing more," Huawei said in its statement.

The statement from Huawei comes at a time when the Chinese network equipment manufacturer is facing renewed accusations that it has links to the Chinese government and is using its equipment to spy on the US and the UK.

Cyber-security cell

On Thursday the UK government announced it was planning to investigate the company's cyber-security cell in order to maintain confidence in the country's telecom security and following recommendations in June from the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Huawei's Cyber Security Evaluation Centre is located in Banbury and opened in 2010 as a place for Huawei to test its networking equipment.

This was followed by the accusations from Hayden in the Australian Financial Review where he claimed Huawei supplied information about foreign country's telecoms infrastructure directly to the Chinese government.

Hayden claims Western intelligence agencies have information about Huwaei's secretive agreement with the Chinese government and that, at a minimum, "shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with," he said. "I think that goes without saying - it's one reality."

While the UK government has addressed the use of data from the NSA Prism programme, clearing GCHQ officials of any wrongdoing, it has yet to address claims from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about the Tempora programme which it is said gives the UK government access to huge amounts of information passing through the UK's telecommunications network.

Full Huawei Statement:

"This is tired nonsense we've been hearing for years, trotted out anew as a flimsy bright and shiny object to distract attention from the very real compromising of global networks and information that has been exposed in recent weeks. Misdirecting and slandering Huawei may feel okay because the company is Chinese-based - no harm, no foul, right? Wrong. Huawei is a world-proven multinational across 150 global markets that supports scores and scores of American livelihoods, and thousands more, indirectly, through $6 billion a year in procurements from American suppliers. Someone says they got some proof of some sort of threat? Okay. Then put up. Or shut up. Lacking proof in terms of the former, which seems clearly the case, this is politically-inspired and racist corporate defamation, nothing more."

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