Blackburn says China building 'spy network' through Huawei technology

Blackburn says China building 'spy network' through Huawei technology
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP may face choice on tax cut or stimulus checks Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases MORE (R-Tenn.) on Sunday accused China of building a “spy network” through the use of telecommunications group Huawei around the world and said it would be dangerous to allow Huawei access to U.S. fifth generation (5G) wireless networks. 

“We do not need to let Huawei get into building out these 5G networks, not for us and not for any of our allies because of the dangers there,” Blackburn said while appearing on Fox News’s "Sunday Morning Futures."  

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She added, “China is building a spy network, they want to win the cyber war, and what we have to do is continue to say to them, you cannot empower Huawei, which is state-run, regardless of what they say, we know it is state-run, and it is their mechanism for spying.” 

Huawei has been in the spotlight over the past few months after the Commerce Department added the company to its “entity list” in May, citing national security concerns. U.S. companies are banned from doing business with companies included on that list.

The agency put in place a 90-day extension before Huawei is formally added to the list to allow American companies time to adjust. 

However, that move was thrown into question last week following President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE’s announcement at the Group of 20 summit in Japan that he would allow U.S. companies to sell equipment to Huawei. Trump added that "we're talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it.”

This announcement sparked a wave of bipartisan pushback, with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Graham leads Democratic challenger Harrison by 1 point in South Carolina: poll The Global Fragility Act provides the tools to address long-term impacts of COVID MORE (R-S.C.) saying that “there will be a lot of pushback” from both sides of the aisle if Huawei is used as a concession in trade talks. 

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate Intel panel approves final Russia report, moves toward public release Negotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Mnuchin: Negotiators no closer to coronavirus deal than a week ago MORE (R-Fla.) vowed to introduce legislation to keep Huawei on the entity list if Trump removes it, while Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package Meadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program MORE (D-N.Y.) said Trump’s move in favor of Huawei could “dramatically undercut our ability to change China’s unfair trade practices.”

Blackburn on Sunday added to this chorus, saying American companies that continue to sell to Huawei “need to stop that.”

“Huawei is building out a network that is embedded with spyware, and it doesn’t matter if it is financial data, if it is artificial intelligence or autonomous vehicle networks, why would you give them the ability to shut down those networks?" Blackburn said. "So no, let's eliminate them from our networks."