Proposed US-Chinese telecom deal worries US legislators

Huawei HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Three US Congress members have raised security concerns about a proposed deal between American and Chinese telecommunications companies, claiming that it could facilitate Chinese espionage in the United States. The proposed collaboration is between US-based Sprint-Nextel and Cricket Wireless, and Chinese hardware manufacturers ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies. But three US Senators, Jon Kyl (R-AR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), have written to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, claiming that the ZTE and Huawei are effectively controlled by China’s civilian and military intelligence establishment. According to the legislators, if the proposed deal goes through the Chinese government may be able to use ZTE and Huawei to “manipulate switches, routers, or software embedded in American telecommunications networks so that communications can be disrupted, intercepted, tampered with, or purposely misrouted”. Read more of this post

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Israeli minister in handshake debacle with Saudi spy chief

Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Much has been made of an episode in the recent Munich Security Conference, in which Israel’s deputy foreign minister shook hands with Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence director. As is often the case in international conferences involving high-level participants from Israel and Muslim states, organizers at the Munich Security Conference went out of their way to ensure that Egyptian, Saudi, and –lately– Turkish government representatives were not to meet in the same seminars with Israeli officials. Participants were surprised, however, to see Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, present in a seminar that featured a panel contribution by Israeli deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. During the remarks session, Ayalon expressed dissatisfaction with the Muslim participants’ insistence to stay clear of the Israeli delegation, to which Turki al-Faisal responded with reference to Israel’s recent diplomatic spat with the Turkish government. Read more of this post

Analysis: Israel Lobby Ousts US Intelligence Nominee

Chas Freeman

Chas Freeman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The near-hysterical reaction by Washington’s pro-Israel lobby against Charles “Chas” Freeman’s candidacy for National Intelligence Commission (NIC) Director has paid off. On Monday, Freeman, a State Department official with 44 years’ experience in the US diplomatic service, decided to withdraw his nomination to head the NIC –the government agency that works with the US intelligence community to compile national intelligence estimates. On February 26, Freeman, who was US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, was nominated for the job by Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair. Blair had said the veteran diplomat would bring with him to the post “a wealth of knowledge and expertise in defense, diplomacy and intelligence”. But Freeman’s nomination was met almost immediately with vehement opposition from pro-Israeli lobby groups in Washington. Republican members of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as at least ten House Representatives, began a vocal campaign to stop Freeman’s NIC candidacy. Chief among the pro-Israel lawmakers were two Jewish Democrats from New York, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Steve Israel. Along with another usual suspect, “independent” Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, they described Freeman as a “controversial” diplomat with “strong political opinions”, who “appear[s] inclined to lean against Israel” with “statements against Israel [that] were way over the top”. Read article →