GOP lawmaker: UK-Huawei deal could force US to 'reexamine' intelligence-sharing partnership

Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherGOP lawmaker touts bill prohibiting purchases of drugs made in China Wisconsin Republican says US must not rely on China for critical supplies We weren't ready for a pandemic — imagine a crippling cyberattack MORE (R-Wis.) warned Tuesday that the United Kingdom’s decision to allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei to be part of its 5G network could force the U.S. to “fundamentally reexamine” a key intelligence-sharing partnership with the country.

“It will force legislatures and members of the executive branch to fundamentally reexamine our intelligence-sharing partnership with the UK and that would be incredibly regrettable because that relationship has paid dividends in recent years,” Gallagher told Hill.TV in reference to the deal.

Gallagher pointed to a multilateral intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Though the U.K. has said it will prevent Huawei's equipment from being used in sensitive parts of its networks, he argued that it “calls into question all of the information” that the U.S. is sharing with its closest ally.

“It is very concerning — I hope that Prime Minister Johnson does not allow this to go forward,” he said.

Gallagher’s remarks come after the U.K. government announced that Huawei would have a “limited role" in building its new 5G data network, despite warnings from the U.S. to ban the company from its networks.

The U.K.’s National Security Council (NSC) said Tuesday that it would allow a presence of “no more than 35 percent’” of equipment from high risk vendors like Huawei.

The U.S. has long considered the China-based company a security risk, and the move has already drawn pushback from Republican lawmakers.

Prior to the NSC’s decision, Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPhase-four virus relief hits a wall On The Money: Senate aims to quickly approve more small-business aid | Dems seek conditions on new funds for small-business loans | Pelosi says next round of relief will top T The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Debruyne Says Global Response Platform Needed; Navarro Saw It Coming MORE (R-Fla.), John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers announce legislation to fund government purchases of oil GOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction' Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package MORE (R-Texas), and Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonTrump's ambitious infrastructure vision faces Senate GOP roadblock  GOP lawmaker touts bill prohibiting purchases of drugs made in China Wisconsin Republican says US must not rely on China for critical supplies MORE (R-Ark.) sent joint letters to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and all other NSC members urging them to vote against allowing Huawei any involvement in British 5G networks.

Gallagher noted the impact of the decision could have also an impact on a future U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement. He said he hopes that U.S. officials will impose "some maximum economic pressure" on Huawei and fellow China-based telecom giant ZTE.

“We’ve taken some measures but we keep granting exceptions for U.S. companies to do business with these companies,” he said. “It’s far past time for us to not grand those exceptions and potentially consider putting Huawei on a treasury special-designated national list, which would really cut off their access to the U.S. banking system.”

Though the U.S. has eased trade restrictions on Huawei, the House in December passed a bipartisan bill that would bar the government from buying telecommunications equipment from companies like Huawei that are deemed to be national security threats. The legislation passed unanimously and is now awaiting consideration in the Senate.

—Tess Bonn