- A bipartisan group of senators recommended the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy enact a ban on using Huawei products in the United States’ energy infrastructure.
- As part of last year’s annual defense bill, Huawei has already been banned from being used by government employees and contractors.
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday cautioning against the use of products by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, as well as suggesting an outright ban on their products as it relates to US energy infrastructure.
The letter to key officials in President Donald Trump’s administration is yet another example of lawmakers on Capitol Hill taking a harsher stance toward Huawei, which Congress banned from being used in various government activities in last year’s defense bill.
The new letter from the 10 lawmakers focuses on Huawei’s solar energy technology.
“Huawei has recently become the world’s largest maker of inverters – the sophisticated control systems that have allowed the rapid expansion of residential and utility scale energy production,” the letter read. “Both large-scale photovoltaic systems and those used by homeowners, school districts, and businesses are equally vulnerable to cyberattacks.”
“Our federal government should consider a ban on the use of Huawei inverters in the United States and work with state and local regulators to raise awareness and mitigate potential threats,” the senators added.
Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, Jim Risch of Idaho, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska signed the letter. Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Dianne Feinstein of California joined their GOP colleagues. In addition, Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine signed the letter.
“We urge you to work with all federal, state and local regulators, as well as the hundreds of independent power producers and electricity distributors nation-wide to ensure our systems are protected,” the letter concluded. “We stand ready and willing to provide any assistance you need to secure our critical electricity infrastructure.”
The letter comes as Trump cites “substantial progress” in negotiations with the Chinese
The letter comes amid tense negotiations with China over trade disputes. Trump on Sunday announced a will delay to previously scheduled tariff increases on Chinese products.
“I am pleased to report that the U.S. has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump also said he would be inviting Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for a summit in the near future.
Huawei has also been a focus of separate actions by the Trump administration.
The Justice Department announced indictments of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and the company in January for allegedly stealing technology and using an affiliated company to get around US sanctions on Iran.
“Both sets of charges expose Huawei’s brazen and persistent actions to exploit American companies and financial institutions and to threaten the free and fair global marketplace,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the time. “As you can tell from the number and magnitude of the charges, Huawei and its senior executives repeatedly refused to respect US law and standard international business practices.”