Senator Ben Sasse on Tuesday expressed concern over the work being done for Chinese telecommunications company Huawei by a White House candidate for a key intelligence post.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday for the appointment of Christopher Fonzone as director of the General Council of National Intelligence, the Nebraska Republican questioned Fonzone about Huawei’s connection to China’s oppression of its Uyghur minority.
“What do you think of the role they played in the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide in Xinjiang?” Sasse asked.
Huawei has been heavily sanctioned by the US government after accusations that its infrastructure equipment allows the Chinese Communist Party to monitor users.
Fonzone, who served as legal advisor to the National Security Council under President Obama, advised Huawei on U.S. law in 2018, and says he did less than 10 hours of work for the CCP-linked conglomerate.
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The candidate said he was aware of DNI Avril Haines’ assessment that Huawei posed a “significant counterintelligence risk” and vowed he would use the latest information available in any legal analysis.
“I’m trying to ask a different question. I’m trying to ask why you would decide to work for Huawei given who they are,” Sasse said.
“My firm asked me if I could help answer some questions about how American administrative law works. I did a very little analysis of this issue, less than 10 hours,” Fonzone replied.
“Who do you think they [Huawei] have been? Because they’re the bad guys, ”Sasse insisted.
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“I did the work I did because an associate asked me to help a company understand US law and that’s the advice I provided in very little work and it didn’t ‘there has been no follow-up since then, “Fonzone replied.
“This is a company involved in genocide and it is a company that is usually, systematically involved in the theft of intellectual property from American companies,” Sasse said in response. “Helping them with rule making or their understanding of rule making does not help a morally neutral actor and does not help them comply with US law, it helps them understand how they can get around the law. American. “
The company has denied US accusations that it is controlled by the ruling Communist Party or facilitates Chinese espionage.
After the hearing, Sasse said Fonzone should not be confirmed to the role. “It’s simple: you can get a national security position confirmed by the Senate or you can work for the Chinese Communist Party and its national champions like Huawei, but you shouldn’t do both,” the senator said in a statement. communicated to Fox News.
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Fonzone earned praise for his national security background – but that experience should have led him to politely decline a mission to help Huawei. America’s message to the world should be clear: technological ties to the Communist Party Chinese are a risk to national security. “