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

Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherHillicon Valley: Tech confronts impact of coronavirus | House GOP offers resolution to condemn UK over Huawei | YouTube lays out plans to tackle 2020 misinformation GOP lawmakers introduce resolution denouncing UK's Huawei decision House Republicans introduce resolution condemning UK's decision to allow Huawei in 5G networks 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 RubioPeace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela USDA takes heat as Democrats seek probe into trade aid MORE (R-Fla.), John CornynJohn CornynBooker, Cornyn introduce bill to fund school nutrition programs Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday Democrats seek to drive wedge between Trump, GOP on whistleblowers MORE (R-Texas), and Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran Coronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 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