US officials have launched an investigation into Chinese telecommunication companies that are working out of the US.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) are to look into the potential threat posed by companies such as Huawei and ZTE to the country’s security.
The announcement comes following a ten-month review into the threat and the government’s response to it. Studies were carried out within the intelligence community, as well as the private sector.
It was found that “the threat to the supply chain constitutes a rising national security concern of the highest priority.”
The committee also found that whilst the issue continues to be reviewed and recommendations are being made, more can be done to address it.
The investigation is expected to look into the opportunity the Chinese companies have to provide information to their own government and whether it constitutes a threat to US critical infrastructure and economy.
The committee will also review whether US officials are doing enough to discover the “full scope of the Chinese threat” and what measures are necessary to ensure national security.
“The fact that our critical infrastructure could be used against us is of serious concern,” said Chairman Rogers.
“We are looking at the overall infrastructure threat and Huawei happens to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but there are other companies that will be included in the investigation as well.”
“As the formal investigation begins, I stand by my caution to the American business community about engaging Huawei technology until we can fully determine their motives,” said Rogers.
Member Dutch Ruppersberger also went on the explain that the committee already know that the Chinese are “aggressively hacking” into the nation’s networks.
This, he went on, threatens critical infrastructure and allows the Chinese to “steal secrets worth millions of dollars in intellectual property from American companies.”
The committee will be requesting information from US telecommunications providers as well as security experts to determine the capabilities of the Chinese companies and how US intelligence can focus on dealing with the threat.
“The purpose of this investigation is to determine to what extent Chinese communications companies are exploiting the global supply chain and how we can mitigate this threat to our national and economic security,” said Ruppersberger.
Last month it emerged that US satellites were attacked by Chinese hackers in 2007 and 2008.
The Chinese government are suspected of being behind these and other attacks, something which they vehemently deny.