April 10 (UPI) — Several executive branches of the federal government, including the Justice Department, have urged the Federal Communications Commission to ban China Telecom from operating in the United States.
The Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative joined the Justice Department on Thursday in demanding the FCC “revoke and terminate” authorization to China’s state-owned telecommunications company to offer services in the United States as it poses a threat to national security.
“The security of our government and professional communications, as well as of our most private data, depends on our use of trusted partners from nations that share our values and our aspirations for humanity,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. “Today’s action is but our next step in ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”
The recommendation follows a review by the agencies of China Telecom that found it poses “substantial and unacceptable” national security and law enforcement risks to the United States, the agencies said.
Specifically, they said the company is susceptible to exploitation by the Chinese government and that China’s role in malicious cyber activity targeting the United States is a cause for concern.
The telecom also made false claims to U.S. authorities about where it stores its U.S. records, raising worries over who may have access to that information, among other issues, the agencies said.
The request is the latest action the United States has taken against Chinese state-control companies after the State Department designated five news organizations as foreign missions of the Asian nation in February and then in March it placed a cap on how many Chinese nationals their bureaus in the United States could hire.
The Trump administration has also been waving a red flag over China’s telecommunications companies having designated Huawei and ZTE as security threats in November.
Last month, Trump signed into law a bill prohibiting the use of federal funds to purchase equipment from those two companies and others designated as national security threats.