The White House has cleared the Chinese telecom maker Huawei of any spying allegations, and is starting to make a US senate committee inquiry look like protectionist China bashing.
Last week, a US congressional report warned against allowing Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE to supply critical telecom infrastructure. Committee members warned that the use of Chinese gear posed a huge security risk to US companies, because Huawei was handing over data to the Chinese government.
However, according to Reuters, the White House-ordered a review of security risks posed by suppliers to US telecommunications companies and found no clear evidence that Huawei Technologies had spied for China.
The White House said that Huawei, the world's second-largest maker of networking gear, was risky, but that was because it had a few vulnerabilities. But then there is little wrong with that, most tech equipment has vulnerabilities and that does not mean that the company is spying for a foreign power.
Of course the US press is not going to let things go. Reuters pondered whether or not the security vulnerabilities found in Huawei equipment were placed there deliberately. We guess that gives an opt out for Apple and Microsoft when flaws are found in their products.
The White House inquiry was a little different from the one conducted by the senators. For a start, it was aided by intelligence agencies and other departments.
It delved into reports of suspicious activity and asked detailed questions of nearly 1,000 telecom equipment buyers. The US Senate committee relied on evidence given to it by interested parties and formed its own political hunches. Huawei said it spent a year gathering evidence and then ignored anything that did not fit into the spying idea.
In fact the White House was hoping that its inquiry would turn up proof that Huawei had been spying.
A deep throat told Reuters that certain parts of government "really wanted" evidence of active spying. Its inquiry would have found it if it were there.
A spokesman for Huawei said the company was not familiar with the review but it was not surprised that no evidence of Huawei espionage was found.
The allegations of lying are based on the assumption that Huawei's chief executive officer, Ren Zhengfei, founded it 25 years ago after he was laid off by the Chinese army.
Sheesh! 25 years ago I was working for the Palmerston North Evening Standard, so by that logic I could be a spy for the Manawatu District Council, if it still exists.