Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger today announced the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) has launched an investigation into the threat posed by Chinese-owned telecommunications companies working in the United States, and the government's response to that threat.
Since becoming Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in January 2011, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger have been adamant that the committee remain focused on the threat posed to our nation's security and critical infrastructure by the expansion of Chinese-owned telecommunications companies -- including Huawei and ZTE -- into our telecommunications infrastructure.
Over 10 months ago, Chairman Rogers instructed committee staff to conduct a preliminary review of this threat and our government's response to that threat. After a series of meetings, briefings, and studies with the intelligence community and the private sector, this preliminary review suggests that the threat to the supply chain constitutes a rising national security concern of the highest priority. Further, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger understand that while the Executive Branch continues to internally review the issue and discuss recommendations for mitigating the threat, more can be done.
This investigation will review the extent to which these companies provide the Chinese government an opportunity for greater foreign espionage, threaten our critical infrastructure, and further the opportunity for Chinese economic espionage. The committee will also review whether the United States government -- including the collection resources of the intelligence community -- are appropriately focused on discovering the full scope of the Chinese threat and developing mitigation measures to ensure the security of our nation's telecommunications networks.
"The fact that our critical infrastructure could be used against us is of serious concern," said Chairman Rogers. "We are looking at the overall infrastructure threat and Huawei happens to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but there are other companies that will be included in the investigation as well. As the formal investigation begins, I stand by my caution to the American business community about engaging Huawei technology until we can fully determine their motives," said Rogers.
"We already know the Chinese are aggressively hacking into our nation's networks, threatening our critical infrastructure and stealing secrets worth millions of dollars in intellectual property from American companies. This jeopardizes our national security and hurts U.S. competitiveness in the world market, costing our country countless jobs. The same way hacking can be a threat, vulnerabilities can derive from compromised hardware on which our telecommunications industry rely. The purpose of this investigation is to determine to what extent Chinese communications companies are exploiting the global supply chain and how we can mitigate this threat to our national and economic security." said Ruppersberger.
Chairman Rogers, as a former FBI special agent, and Ranking Member Ruppersberger, as a former prosecutor, understand that an investigation must be allowed to go where it leads. They are thus prepared to use the full scope of the committee's oversight and investigative powers to uncover the truth of this threat and our government's efforts to discover and respond to that threat. The Committee will seek information from relevant telecommunications providers, request information and briefings from private-sector telecommunications security experts, conduct interviews with key U.S. government officials, and hold a series of hearings and briefings to uncover what these Chinese companies are capable of doing and how our intelligence community could be better focused on this threat.