How the U.S. spy agencies have been gathering their intelligence data, though, has been highly criticized both in the U.S. and by citizens abroad.
A recently leaked document provided by former National Security Agency contractor and fugitive, Edward Snowden, reveals that the U.S. National Security Agency has been secretly tapping the Chinese telecoms and Internet giant, Huawei, and various other Chinese corporate networks.
The NSA for years has been accessing, Huawei's email archive, communications between top company officials, and even the secret source code of some of its products. The original intent of the NSA’s Operation “Shotgiant” was to search for links between the Shenzhen-based tech giant and the Chinese military, according to Snowden’s leaked documents.
The Chinese military has been accused also of electronically stealing and hacking corporate and U.S. Government secrets for years. Other nations have also been on the receiving end of China’s cyber intrusions. How those stolen trade secrets are being utilized by the Chinese military can pose a direct threat against our National Security.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA has long seen, Huawei, as a security threat due to perceived links to the Chinese military, which the company denies, and both the United States and Australia have barred, Huawei, from involvement in broadband projects due to espionage fears.
The U.S. has penetrated Huawei’s communication products sold to third countries out of fear that such products were being used to “gain access to networks of interest” across the globe.
The U.S. National Security Agency defended its intelligence-gathering operations, which it maintained were focused only on “valid foreign intelligence targets.” It also insisted that their intelligence gathering activities “are focused and specifically deployed against — and only against — valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements.”
The NSA is also pushing back against suggestions by Snowden and others that spy agencies were waging an industrial espionage campaign on behalf of U.S. businesses.“We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — U.S. companies to enhance their competitiveness,” according to a released NSA statement.
The Chinese telecommunication company, Huawei, disagrees with all activities that threaten the security of their networks. They have gone on record, “….. to willingly work with all governments, industry stakeholders and customers, in an open and transparent manner, to jointly address the global challenge of network security….”
The U.S. Government, however, will continue to perceive the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei, as a potential security threat due to their close ties with the Chinese military. Our U.S. intelligence community will continue to closely monitor and prohibit, Huawei, from any and all involvement in broadband projects within the U.S. due to potential threats of espionage.
I enjoy telling my students at the Suzhou International Foreign Language School, in Suzhou, China - that the new technological wonders that science produces, can be our greatest gift or our greatest fear, depending on the hands that are using it.
This Intel tug of war between China and the U.S. can in all reality develop into something much greater than just perceived threats. It can very well progress into full blown cyber-attacks by simple clicks of a computer mouse. That in my opinion would be something that most people are quite incapable of fully comprehending. The devastation of such full-blown cyber-attacks by world powers is not something sane individuals would want to bring on the world.
I often bring up in my Cultural Diversity classes here in Suzhou, China - how I have difficulty fathoming where technology will progress, especially, when my students are my age and what the world will be like then - if I ever live that long but I suppose time will only tell …….
- Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
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