Former CIA chief: China’s Huawei Technologies worked for PRC intelligence

Michael Hayden during his time as the head of the CIA

Company poses major threat

China’s Huawei Technologies is one of several major state-run telecommunications companies seeking to a large share of the growing telecommunications hardware market. The company, founded by a People’s Liberation Army officer, has been a target of U.S. intelligence and security agencies for years and has tried and failed several times to purchase or merge with U.S. telecommunications firms.

Now, former National Security Agency Direcector Michael V. Hadyen says Huawei one reason behind the U.S. intelligence concern is the company’s tie to Chinese intelligence agencies.

Hayden said in an interview published July 19 with the Austrailian Financial Review that Huawei is seeking a “significant footprint” in the United State and has sought to enlist former U.S. officials to “endorse their presence.”

Huawei lobbied Hayden and other former officials in an attempt to convince the U.S. govenrment it did not pose a threat.

“But God did not make enough briefing slides on Huawei to convince me that having them involved in our critical communications infrastructure was going to be okay,” Hayden said.

Based on four decades in intelligence, including as director of CIA, Hayden said “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.”

Hayden said he is convinced Huawei poses an unambigous national security threat, although he declined to provide specifics of the kind of software and hardware threats the company has developed.

Huawei has often been referred to as China’s Cisco Systems and produces an array of computer and network routers and equipment.

On Huawei’s role in conducting espionage on behalf the Chinese government, Hayden said: “Yes, that’s right. And, at a minimum, Huawei would have shared with the Chinese state intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with. I think that goes without saying. That’s one reality.”

“As an intelligence professional, I stand back in awe at the breadth, depth, sophistication and persistence of the Chinese espionage campaign against the West,” he said.

The Chinese intelligence threat, that includes operatives from the civilian Ministry of State Security and the military PLA Second Department of the General Staff, known as 2 PLA, as well as the electronic signals and cyber intelligence unit known as 4 PLA.

China’s government and Huawei officials, as they have in the past, flatly denied the intelligence links to the company.

Details of Huawei’s intelligence links began surfacing in public several years ago.

A CIA-led Open Source Center report disclosed in 2011 that Huawei’s chairwoman, Sun Yafang, worked for the Ministry of State Security (MSS) Communications Department before joining the company.

Huawei’s ties to the PLA were disclosed earlier.

In May 2013, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission stated in a report that “Huawei is a well established supplier of specialized telecommunications equipment, training and related technology to the PLA that has, along with others such as Zhongxing, and Datang, received direct funding for R&D on C4ISR systems capabilities.” C4ISR is the acronym for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconaissance, the elemenets of what the military general uses to control forces and wage war.

The Pentagon’s annual report on the Chinese military said China’s industry, including Huawei, is closely integrated with the military. “Information technology companies in particular, including Huawei, Datang and Zhongxing, maintain close ties to the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” the report says.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, a former PLA officer, also has ties to MSS, the OSC report said.

Huawei tried to purchase the U.S. telecommunications company 3Com in 2008 but was blocked after the Treasury Department-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States examined the potential sale.

Britain on Huawei

Britain’s government is conducting a security review of Huawei Technologies amid fresh concerns the Chinese equipment manufacturer is engaged in spying on domestic British communications.

The government review is focusuing on the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Center in Oxfordshire. It was directed after the government’s Intelligence and Security Committee produced a report on Huawei signals intelligence collection.

Britain’s government made significant investments in Huawei telecommunications technology over the past decade and is now dealing with the consequences of compromised gear.

The company has supplied equipment to a British Telecom, TalkTalk, O2 and Everything Everywhere.

The ISC report was critical of the government for allowing BT and Huawei to work together beginning in 2003.

“Indeed the National Security Council (NSC), which was not in existence at the time of the BT/Huawei contract, can and does consider similar issues today in order to ensure that HMG’s approach balances economic prosperity and commercial competitiveness with national security,” the report stated.

“We take threats to our critical national infrastructure very seriously and need to be responsive to changes in a fast-moving and complex, globalised telecommunications marketplace,” said a spokesperson for the Cabinet Office told The Telegraph, which first reported the story July 19.

Anonymous hacker on Korean cyber attacks

A member of the hacker group Anonymous told a South Korean television station that it plans to publish information it obtained covertly by breaking in to North Korean government computers.

The hacker, identified only by his Twitter handle as @Anontwittrack, told South Korea’s SBS that the group was able to track all North Korea’s internal networks.

Anonymous now claims to have information on North Korean missiles and 200,000 North Korean soldiers.

“[The quantity of our materials] can be seen as such a [large] quantity that we deferred making them public, thinking that we might cause a dispute, as the information was on the sponsoring of North Korean companies overseas and others, and as we secured [their] bank account numbers, and so on,” the hacker said.