Strong National Intelligence Leadership Needed for 5G Security | Citizens Against Government Waste

Strong National Intelligence Leadership Needed for 5G Security

The WasteWatcher

President Trump’s appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as acting director of national intelligence should provide the U.S. with much-needed leadership and understanding of how the United States and Europe must act quickly and decisively to protect their communications networks from national security risks.

Former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland noted on Fox News this morning that  Ambassador Grenell’s experience at the United Nations and in Europe is an asset in the effort to determine whether “China gets to build the infrastructure for the internet of the future, or do we get to build it? … If the Chinese get to build it, they will be able to listen in to every phone call, read every email, every text message. … He will be at the center of the decision” of whether Europe uses Chinese equipment in their 5G networks or if they will follow the U.S. in restricting its use.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has banned the purchase of technology from Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE.  On December 12, 2019, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated, “We want to secure our networks and, to that end, the FCC unanimously determined that we should not allow the use of Universal Service Funds for the purchase of equipment or services from untrusted vendors.  On the merits, I think that was the right decision.”

Congress is also moving forward to ensure that the country’s communications networks are protected from potentially harmful equipment.  On December 16, 2019, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 4998, the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.  This legislation would prohibit federal subsidies from being used to purchase communications equipment or services that pose national security risks and establishes a reimbursement program to replace existing communications equipment or services that pose such risks.  

Everyone should hope that K.T. McFarland’s assessment of Ambassador Grenell is correct.  The U.S. must have strong leaders who will protect our national security by creating a safe and secure 5G infrastructure and combatting China’s influence in other countries.