Chinese-made Huawei tower could breach US nuclear arsenal, hints FBI probe

Published on Jul 25, 2022 12:17 PM IST

The Chinese government has denied charges of espionage on the American soil. Huawei also denied that the tower is capable of operating in any spectrum allocated to the US defence department, CNN reported.

FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with a Huawei logo is seen in front of a U.S. flag in this illustration taken in 2021.(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with a Huawei logo is seen in front of a U.S. flag in this illustration taken in 2021.(REUTERS)
By | Written by Aryan Prakash

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has uncovered Chinese-made Huawei equipment on cell towers near the US military bases in Midwest, CNN reported.

The federal probe agency has said that the equipment was capable of capturing and disrupting highly restricted US defence department communications which include those used by the US Strategic Command which oversees the nuke weapons.

It is believed that the origin of this Huawei equipment dates back to the Obama administration. It is unclear if the intelligence officials determined if any sensitive data was intercepted and sent back to Beijing from these Huawei towers. Sources told the website that it is technically difficult to prove that a given package of data was stolen and sent overseas.

The Chinese government has denied charges of espionage on the American soil. Huawei also denied that the tower is capable of operating in any spectrum allocated to the US defence department, CNN reported.

But intelligence officials say that there is no question that the towers are capable of intercepting not only commercial mobile traffic but also the restricted airwaves used by the military and disrupt critical US Strategic Command communications, thereby giving Beijing a potential peek into Washington DC's nuke arsenal.

A former FBI official said that the towers may impact US capability to command and control with the nuclear triad, CNN reported.

The FBI probe was so secret that some senior policymakers in the White House and government were not briefed till 2019. That year, the US communication regulator has initiated a rule effectively banning small telecom firms from using Huawei and other brands of Chinese equipment. In 2020, the US Congress had approved $1.9 billion to remove Chinese-based Huawei and ZTE cell technology across rural parts of the country. But the equipment is yet to be removed even after two years.    

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