Senators urge FERC chair to consider Huawei threat

Published on December 11, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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A bipartisan group of U.S. senators sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the threat posed to U.S. national security by the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei Technologies Co.

The senators are urging FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee to work with the Administration to combat the threat.

The concern is that Huawei – a leading supplier of 5G technology – could be exploited by China to engage in espionage and monitor foreign corporations and governments. The Federal Communications Commission announced plans in November to place greater restrictions on Chinese telecommunications.

“As you know, the Intelligence Community has issued repeated warnings to regulators and political leaders about the dangers associated with using Huawei equipment on the nation’s telecommunications network,” the senators wrote. “Congress and the Trump Administration have taken steps to eliminate Huawei products from national security sensitive applications, citing concerns with the company’s links to the Chinese Communist Party, including its intelligence services. Given FERC’s responsibility for overseeing the reliability of the electric grid, it is critical that your agency take steps to ensure that United States critical infrastructure and the electric grid remain protected from foreign intrusion.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Risch (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Joe Manchin (D-WV).