Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with U.S. Representatives Mike Conway (R-TX), Liz Cheney (R-WY), and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) today sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressing concerns about Google’s relationship with the Chinese telecom company Huawei due to its threat to U.S. national security. Specifically, they urged Google to reconsider their “strategic partnership” with Huawei, which has direct links to the Chinese Communist Party.
The full text of the letter can be found below:
We write to express our concerns about Google’s “strategic partnership” with Huawei Technologies. Chinese telecommunications companies, such as Huawei, have extensive ties with the Chinese Communist Party. As a result, this partnership between Google and Huawei could pose a serious risk to U.S. national security and American consumers.
Since the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its investigative report on the national-security issues posed by Chinese telecommunications firms in 2012, U.S. officials have publicly raised concerns about Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government. During a February 2018 hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the heads of six U.S. intelligence agencies warned American citizens not to use Huawei products or services. At the same hearing, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray testified that he was “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.” The concerns of the Intelligence Community are well founded: recent reports indicate that a former U.S. intelligence officer charged with spying for the Chinese government used Huawei technology to communicate with his handlers.
In fact, Congress is considering a number of bipartisan measures to address the threat posed by Huawei. Earlier this year, we introduced the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which would prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment or services from Huawei or other Chinese telecommunications companies. Both chambers of Congress have included elements of this bill in the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a measure that would bar the use of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from companies deemed a national-security risk, including Huawei. Over the coming months, the federal government will likely take further measures to defend U.S. telecommunications networks from Huawei and companies like it.
We urge you to reconsider Google’s partnership with Huawei, particularly since your company recently refused to renew a key research partnership, Project Maven, with the Department of Defense. This project uses artificial intelligence to improve the accuracy of U.S. military targeting, not least to reduce civilian casualties. While we regret that Google did not want to continue a long and fruitful tradition of collaboration between the military and technology companies, we are even more disappointed that Google apparently is more willing to support the Chinese Communist Party than the U.S. military.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to your response, including the rationale for your decision to partner with Huawei but not the U.S. military, as well as your plans to mitigate the grave risks of working with Huawei.