In a letter published November 13, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Huawei and ZTE “cannot be trusted.” Barr published the letter in support of two FCC proposals hoping to push back against the two companies.
In the letter, Barr cited the pending federal criminal charges against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Huawei on 13 counts earlier this year, including money laundering, obstruction of justice, and sanction violations. Meng was named in the lawsuit and charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.
Barr also referenced separate criminal charges of trade secret theft, fraud, and obstruction of justice. According to authorities, Huawei stole T-Mobile’s intellectual property and offered employees bonuses based on how valuable the stolen information was.
As for ZTE, the company violated the U.S. trade embargo with Iran and was initially banned from using U.S. parts in its products for almost a decade. However, U.S. President Donald Trump intervened and lifted the ban.
Because of these issues, Barr said the U.S. “should not signal that Huawei and ZTE are anything other than a threat to our collective security.”
He also backed the FCC’s two proposals to prevent U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei and ZTE. One proposal would prevent companies receiving money from the FCC’s annual $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund from purchasing Huawei and ZTE equipment. The second proposal would instill a process for certain rural wireless carriers to remove and replace equipment from the two companies.
The FCC will vote on the proposals November 19.