German intel sharing at risk over Huawei spat

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US-German intel sharing at risk over Huawei spat | Article

The US has warned Germany that it risks being cut off from sensitive American intelligence if it lets Huawei build its next generation of mobile phone networks.

Altmaier told a television talk show on Thursday that Germany did not want to ban Huawei but would change its laws to ensure all components used in the 5G networks are secure.

That's the gist of a letter U.S. Ambassador Richard A. Grenell recently sent to German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.

The big picture: Huawei has always been accused of having close ties to the Chinese government.

USA officials have grown increasingly exasperated about what they see as Germany's naivety about potential Chinese security threats.

But Washington is not ready to give up, and has reportedly told Berlin that it will have to limit intelligence sharing with its close North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally if it allows Huawei to provide 5G network equipment.

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According to the report, the U.S. doesn't plan to end its intelligence sharing with Germany in the event this equipment is used, but rather limit the scope of the data. Just last week, the Italian government received a rebuke from a senior USA security official for saying it would discuss with Beijing possible participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative - a major infrastructure project meant to improve links between the country and its major suppliers and markets.

Huawei denies these claims. Germany also concluded through an internal investigation that Huawei would not be able to intercept data using the equipment.

Last week, Huawei sued the USA government for banning federal agencies from purchasing Huawei equipment - a restriction in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

The United States government has routinely advised allies against using networking equipment from Huawei because of potential cybersecurity issues.

German government officials meanwhile, argue that they have seen little evidence suggesting Huawei would use its equipment to spy on its users. "We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort".

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