Huawei, ZTE face Congress in national security probe

Executives from Chinese vendors will testify before a House intelligence committee to rebut suggestions from Congress that they pose a national security risk to the United States.

On Thursday the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold a rare public hearing titled, "Investigation of the Security Threat Posed by Chinese Telecommunications Companies Huawei and ZTE." The committee began probing the two companies in November 2011 and is expected to produce a report in early October on its investigation into whether infrastructure from the two companies poses a threat to U.S. networks, among other questions.

The two companies have repeatedly denied links to the Chinese military or receiving illegal help from the Chinese government. Both have had minimal success securing network infrastructure contracts from Tier 1 carriers in the U.S. market. However, both companies' device businesses have found favor with U.S. carriers.

Charles Ding, a corporate senior vice president, will testify for Huawei, and Zhu Jinyun, senior vice president for North America and Europe, will testify for ZTE. "We respect the U.S. government's security concerns," ZTE's Zhu said ahead of the hearing. "We need to work together to find a solution for those concerns, and this should be our start."

Huawei issued a report last week in which it pledged never to cooperate with any agency conducting espionage. Huawei also noted that its equipment is used by 45 of the world's 50 biggest phone companies.

Huawei also published a report called "the Case for Huawei in America," which pushes back against "allegations based on allegations" made against the company.

"Much of the evidence fueling lawmakers' concerns remains classified," said the 69-page report by Dan Steinbock, described as an authority on trade and investment and U.S.-Chinese relations. "However, when one set of allegations are substantiated with another set of allegations, the line between investigation and maltreatment grows thin." Huawei spokesman Bill Plummer told the Reuters the words in the paper belonged to Steinbock, not the company.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this AP article
- see this Reuters article

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