Ex-Obama counterterrorism official: Huawei could pose security threat to international intelligence community

A former senior counterterrorism official in the Obama administration is calling on the U.S. to initiate a dialogue with allies about the potential threats of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Nate Synder warned Monday that Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government pose security concerns to the international intelligence community as the telecom giant looks to help build 5G wireless networks in the U.S. and abroad.

“Huawei’s not just interested in the U.S. — they’re looking at a global scale,” Synder told Hill.TV during an interview.

“This goes into not only our national security but theirs in also the way we share intelligence and information with these partners as well,” Synder added. “We wouldn’t want to share critical sensitive information on a network that we somebody’s more than likely listening in on.”

The Trump administration has already taken steps to crack down on use of the company’s equipment.

The U.S. Commerce Department last Friday blacklisted five more Chinese technology groups due to national security concerns. U.S. firms will now need government approval in order to sell technology equipment to Chinese organizations.

The Commerce Department put supercomputer maker Sugar and semiconductor company Higon on its  list, among others, saying they have been “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”

The move comes a month after the Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei. In response, China's Commerce Ministry announced in May that it was creating a list of foreign companies that “seriously damage” Chinese enterprises.

Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' MORE (D-Va.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign Republicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE (R-Fla.), meanwhile, have called on the Trump administration not to use Huawei as a “bargaining chip” in trade negotiations with China, saying the  actions are a matter of “national security.”

The Trump administration and some of officials in the intelligence community have long argued that the Chinese government could commit espionage using Huawei equipment. The company, meanwhile, has denied all accusations and offered to sign a “no-spy agreement.”

Despite the concerns of U.S. officials, British Prime Minister announced shortly before her resignation in May that she planned to allow Huawei to build key parts of the U.K.'s new 5G network. 

—Tess Bonn