It is often said that the natural state of being between nations is that of hostility. Although there are agreements and disagreements with regards to the statement, certain issues underscore the inherent hostility that perforates any relation between two countries. Particularly when the countries in question are those in the seat of power like the US and China, the implication becomes even more grave. Recently, certain FBI investigations (unreported) have thrown light on Chinese-made Huawei equipment that could potentially disrupt the US nuclear arsenal communications. This particular investigation is only one on the surface level, and as one digs deeper more egregious facts surface. Read along to know more.
The What And Why
The air was rather amicable and pleasant in 2017 when the Chinese government was willing to spend a whopping $100 million for the construction of an ornate Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in Washington DC. The seemingly friendly and well-meaning deal excited quite a number of local officials given the fact that it would be of significant help in bolstering tourism.
Sadly, ‘all that glitters is not gold.’ The same happened with the deal which proved to be a cauldron of red flags following investigations by US counterintelligence officials. The strategic location of the pagoda was an ideal spot for signals intelligence collection. In addition to this, the Chinese officials’ insistence on building the pagoda using materials shipped in diplomatic pouches which are immune to US Customs examination added to the suspicion. Naturally, the project was nipped in the bud by Federal officials before it was too late.
The given incident is only one among the long list of counterintelligence activity by the FBI and other agencies to delve deeper into ‘Chinese espionage’ which is believed to have escalated to alarming levels over the past decade. Since 2017, Federal officials have been keeping a close watch over Chinese activities like land purchases close to critical infrastructure and several other activities that proved suspicious.
Recently, the spotlight has been on equipment manufactured by Huawei on top of cell towers. The fact that these cell towers are located close to the military bases in the rural midwest adds more concern. Although there haven’t been any official reports pertaining to the matter, sources close to the matter have reported that according to the FBI investigations, the equipment has the ability to capture and disrupt highly restricted Defense Department communications. This includes the US Strategic Command, responsible for the country’s nuclear weapons.
The fears associated with Huawei equipment have been looming in the air since the time of the Obama administration although there is no clear evidence about the existence of the investigation or its findings. The Chinese Government continues to deny any attempts to spy on the US. Huawei also denied the allegation in a report to CNN. Let us take a couple of reactions on Twitter to get a better picture.
“As Huawei equipment began to proliferate near US military bases, federal investigators started taking notice…Huawei was routinely selling cheap equipment to rural providers in cases … unprofitable…but which placed its equipment near military assets. “ https://t.co/eTMMpUERti
— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) July 23, 2022
CNN Exclusive: FBI investigation determined Chinese-made Huawei equipment could disrupt US nuclear arsenal communications – CNNPolitics https://t.co/z0pRtL2AYs
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 23, 2022
“Among the most alarming things the FBI uncovered pertains to Chinese-made Huawei equipment atop cell towers near US military bases in the rural Midwest.”https://t.co/ZrcHKzOwrR
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) July 23, 2022
— The Hill (@thehill) July 23, 2022
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) July 23, 2022
The Chinese secret garden foiled by the FBI: https://t.co/2bOOOO3z4B
— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) July 23, 2022
Not great. https://t.co/UPUGhY2Zst
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) July 23, 2022
It’s not paranoia when they’re really out to get you. https://t.co/BPceEh8GQz
— Klon Kitchen (@klonkitchen) July 23, 2022