Former CIA, NSA chief Michael Hayden speaks out about Huawei

By on July 19, 2013, 9:51 AM
nsa, china, huawei, cia, spy, espionage, michael hayden

Michael Hayden, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said in a landmark interview with the Australian Financial Review that he believes Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies represents an unambiguous national security threat to the US and Australia. 

The interview focused on the next generation of cyber threats, most accurately described as cyber espionage, as well as what governments are facing right now – using the cyber domain to destroy information and / or degrade a network.

The topic quickly shifted to Huawei as the interviewer asked if Hayden ever had any direct exposure to the company. The former chief said Huawei was trying to establish a significant foothold in the US about two or three years ago. As part of that push, they attempted to get people like Hayden to endorse their presence in the US.

After reviewing Huawei’s briefing papers, he said everything looked good. But there simply weren’t enough briefing slides to convince him that having Huawei involved in critical communications infrastructure was going to be okay. It wasn’t blind prejudice that led him to this decision, but rather his experience based on a career spanning four decades as an intelligence officer.

When asked if he believes hard evidence exists to support the idea that Huawei has engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government in the past, Hayden said he could not comment on specific instances of espionage but had no reason to doubt evidence does exist.

Hayden noted that at a minimum, he believes Huawei would have shared intimate and extensive knowledge of the foreign telecommunications systems it is involved with (assuming the company had been given the green light to build a strong foothold in the US).

User Comments: 8

Got something to say? Post a comment
1 person liked this | Guest said:

The underlying assumption is that his four decades of experience showed him the US was using similar methods of espionage.

psycros psycros said:

Seeing as how Huawei has direct and undeniable links to Chinese military intelligence and is guilty of stealing designs from at least one American networking company, Hayden's conclusions seem reasonable. The very fact that Huawei sought this guy's endorsement should throw up a red flag.

Tygerstrike said:

Huawei made a half way decent phone but it was ALWAYS plauged by problems. They looked good on the outside but the "guts" of the phone were always "sloppy". Many times a customer would purchase a Huawei phone only to return it within 30 days because of a HARDWARE problem. The cameras were touted as 8+ MP but I would swear that it was a 2.1-3MP camera for the quality.

I wonder if they found any spy software on Huawei devices?? That would have been undenyable proof.

mizkitty said:

He retired in 2008...but he still wears his military uniform for paid speaking engagements?

Guest said:

You can trust a totalitarian government to support and promote one thing and one thing alone. It's own self-preserving self-aggrandizing agenda.

The Chinese regime has demonstrated this behavior beyond even the stereotype.

Guest said:

That is a stock photo from a few years ago.

Guest said:

Why NSA or FBI cannot provide substantial evidence that Huawei is spying. There must be proof or else we are just acting on intuition.

Guest said:

Give us the evidence or we just can only says that you just don't want another competitor especially chinese brand had another bite on your market

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.