Huawei’s U.S. security chief Andy Purdy, a former cybersecurity official for the U.S. government, says the U.S. is free to investigate the Chinese telecom giant and would like the company to begin doing business in the U.S. again.
“I’d be very much open to trying to arrange such a conversation and such a visit by the United States government,” Purdy told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
There have been a number of companies over the years that have sued Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets, including Motorola Solutions, T-Mobile and Cisco. Those companies reached settlements with Huawei.
Last year during an interview on FOX Business, Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown discussed a lawsuit that alleged Huawei was stealing technology through Chinese nationals who were employees.
“Huawei definitely stole trade secrets … and we sued, though they ‘subsequently settled,’” he told Bartiromo during an exclusive interview in December.
Meanwhile, a Vodafone executive in April said hidden backdoors were found in Huawei equipment with data going back to China. Huawei later rectified it, but Purdy also assured that this was a misunderstanding and there are “very strict controls” and “very limited access” to data.
“Subsequently, Vodafone globally has said that that report was incorrect, there were no such backdoors. The principal deputy to the director of national intelligence has said that they can test products for backdoors. That’s why Nokia and Ericsson are allowed to do business in the United States despite their deep ties to China,” Purdy explained. “We want to talk to the U.S. government about those risk-mitigation mechanisms that might work to allow us to do some business in the United States.”
But the FOX Business host pushed back.
“You keep saying you don't have, you don't have the data, but you have to comply with Chinese law and the company has communist members on the board and the founder is a communist member. So that's the bottom line. What access? The access is there. And if the Chinese government wants any data, which is why it's a national security risk, you don't have to just prove this to me, Andy. Your company has to prove this to the world,” Bartiromo charged.
“You are incorrect,” Purdy replied. “We do not have the kind of access to data that you think.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Huawei threatens the ability for Europe to work alongside the U.S. and vowed to avoid working with countries that use its technology.
“If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them,” Pompeo told Bartiromo in February. “In some cases there’s risk -- we won’t even be able to co-locate American resources, an American embassy and American military outpost.”
However, Purdy said U.S. allies understand the issues that have happened in the past in respect to intellectual property theft and there’s no evidence of wrongdoing.
“We are the No. 1 holder of patents of information communication technologies and the No. 1 patent holder for 5G,” said Purdy. “At the level of national security significance, there was no evidence presented by the United States to Germany or the U.K. or other allies because there is no evidence.”