FBI, CIA, and NSA chiefs advise against using Huawei and ZTE phones


Recently six different directors of USA agencies, including the FBI, CIA and NSA, jointly claimed Chinese phone manufacturers pose a security risk to everyday consumers.

The heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA and three other USA intelligence agencies have warned Americans not to buy Huawei smartphones, or indeed any other Huawei products and services.

By using these phones, Federal Bureau of Investigation director Chris Wray argues, it opens up the potential for "foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks".

Wray warned that such level of power will allow Chinese agencies to exert control over the USA communications networks. He also said it "provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage". Last month, Huawei planned to launch its new Mate 10 Pro flagship in the United States through AT&T, but the carrier pulled out of the deal at the last minute, reportedly due to political pressure.

Senator and Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr added: "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". That aggressive push, however, has put the company in even more hot water, as fake reviews for its flagship the Mate 10 Pro have reportedly surfaced on Best Buy's website, apparently linked to a Facebook contest spurred on by Huawei.

News of this latest challenge by the U.S. government comes just weeks after the Trump administration revealed that it wants to build its own 5G network in order to counter various perceived security threats from Chinese firms.

Huawei, for its part, tells CNBC that it "poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor". It was a big blow for the company, given that a majority of USA phone purchases still go through carriers.

NSA boss Rogers believes that Chinese technological products that can be used to spy on American citizens represent a "challenge" that won't go away over time.

That line of thinking though, which is shared seemingly by the entire USA intelligence community, has held Huawei-the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world behind Samsung-back from realizing true success in the lucrative US smartphone market through traditional means. "You need to look long and hard at companies like this".