SYDNEY – Michael Hayden, the former head of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, said Friday it “goes without saying” that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei spies for Beijing.
Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Hayden claimed China is engaged in unrestricted espionage against the West and said it is his belief that Huawei would have shared information with state agencies.
Asked whether Huawei poses an unambiguous national security threat to the U.S. and Australia, Hayden replied, “Yes, I believe it does.”
The retired general said he believes Western intelligence networks have hard evidence that Huawei has spied on behalf of the Chinese state.
“I have no reason to question the belief that’s the case,” said Hayden, who retired from the CIA in 2009 and before that was head of the National Security Agency.
“That’s my professional judgment. But as the former director of the NSA, I cannot comment on specific instances of espionage or any operational matters.”
Huawei’s John Suffolk, who has described the company as the “piggy in the middle” of the broader dispute over hacking between China and the United States, reportedly dismissed Hayden’s comments as tired, unsubstantiated and defamatory.
“It’s time to put up or shut up,” Suffolk, Huawei’s global cybersecurity officer, told the newspaper.