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Top FBI, CIA, and NSA officials all agree: Don’t use Huawei Phones

Feb 21, 2018 | Blog

When the heads of all three U.S. intelligence agencies reach the same conclusion: “Don’t Buy Huawei phones”, we should probably listen. CBS News is reporting that FBI Director Chrostopher Wray, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and NSA Director Dan Coats, each gave testimony on Capitol Hill this week to address the cyber security threats facing the nation and all admitted that they would never willingly use a Huawei handset.

The intelligence community has been warning about the risk of Huawei for years, but the timing of the message here is clear: buy the new Huawei, Mate 10 Pro at your own risk. Ever since a 2012 investigative report —in which Huawei was wholly uncooperative—lawmakers have been warning about the potential dangers of using Huawei phones, but with the company on the verge of a U.S. breakout, the rhetoric has been ramped up considerably. Even without any hard evidence, the intelligence community seemingly has ample reason to suspect Huawei of cyber espionage, and it is stopping at nothing to ensure the Mate 10 Pro isn't a big seller in the U.S.

While Huawei wasn’t specifically targeted in the officials’ prepared statements on the threat assessment, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr steered the conversation to China when he stated, “The focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecoms companies like Huawei and ZTE that are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government.” When asked whether they would recommend U.S. citizens buy phones from these manufacturers, none said they would, with committee member Sen. Mark Warner adding, “We need to make sure that this is not a new way for China to gain access to sensitive technology.”

Although Huawei started life as a telecoms firm, creating hardware for communications infrastructure, the company’s smartphones have proved incredibly successful in recent years. Last September, it even surpassed Apple as the world’s second biggest smartphone maker, behind Samsung. Huawei is still trying to sell the Mate 10 Pro unlocked in the US, but this effort seems to have pushed the company to desperate measures — including bribing customers to write fake reviews for the brand new handset on BestBuy.com. Those comments have since been removed.