WASHINGTON – China is trying to gain access to sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual properties through telecommunications companies, academia and joint business ventures, U.S. senators and spy chiefs warned on Tuesday at a Senate hearing.
Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he worried about the spread in the United States of what he called “counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors.”
“The focus of my concern today is China, and specifically Chinese telecoms (companies) like Huawei and ZTE that are widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government,” Burr said.
Chinese technology firms have come under greater government scrutiny in the United States in recent years over fears they may be conduits for spying, something they have consistently denied.
Burr said he worried that foreign commercial investment and acquisitions might jeopardize sensitive technologies and that U.S. academic research and laboratories may be at risk of infiltration by China’s spies.
Several of the U.S. spy agency chiefs who testified at the committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing cited concerns raised by what they called China’s “all of society” approach toward gaining access to technology and intellectual property.
“The reality is that the Chinese have turned more and more to more creative avenues using non-traditional collectors,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in response to a question about student spies.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray arrives to testify in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Leah MillisSenator Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, said he worried about commercialization of surveillance technologies as well as the close relationship between the Chinese government and Chinese technology firms.
“Some of these Chinese tech companies may not even have to acquire an American company before they become pervasive in our markets,” Warner said.
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats arrives to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. BernsteinWray said the United States needed a more “strategic perspective on China’s efforts to use acquisitions and other types of business ventures” rather than just evaluating one transaction at a time.
Under questioning from Cotton, none of the Intelligence officials said they would use a Huawei or ZTE product.
Last week, two other Republican senators – Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton – introduced legislation that would block the government from buying or leasing telecoms equipment from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] or ZTE Corp, citing concern the companies would use their access to spy on U.S. officials.
The companies did not return calls last week seeking comment on the legislation.
In 2012, Huawei and ZTE were the subject of a U.S. investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical U.S. infrastructure – something they have consistently denied.
“Chinese cyber espionage and cyber attack capabilities will continue to support China’s national security and economic priorities,” said Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Doina Chiacu;
Mexican Oil Shake-up Likely If Frontrunner Wins Presidency Top Adviser
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s presidential frontrunner is not opposed to foreign investment in the country’s oil, a top adviser said, but his government would make dramatic changes to energy strategy, including a new focus on refining rather than crude exports.
In perhaps the most significant change envisioned by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the favorite to win the July 1 election, Mexico would seek to end decades of exporting crude in three years, a lawmaker who Lopez Obrador has tapped to be his future energy minister said in an interview.
Instead, Mexico should turn its focus to producing value-added fuels, processing crude domestically to produce more gasoline and diesel at refineries owned by state oil company Pemex, Rocio Nahle told Reuters late on Wednesday.
Reporting by David Alire Garcia,
Haiti Suspends Oxfam Gbs Operating Right Amid Misconduct Probe
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti has temporarily revoked Oxfam Great Britain’s right to operate in the Caribbean country after allegations of sexual misconduct by some of the charity’s staff there, Planning and External Cooperation Minister Aviol Fleurant said on Thursday.
The British aid organization has been rocked by allegations that staff, including a former Haiti country director, used prostitutes during a relief mission after a devastating earthquake hit the island nation in 2010.
Fleurant said the suspension was ordered due to “serious failings” by Oxfam Great Britain between 2010 and 2011, and that a definitive decision on its ability to operate in Haiti would be made in two months following a review of the evidence.
“If during the two month-long investigation I find out there is a link between the aid funds that Oxfam received on behalf of Haiti and the crime that has been committed, we will … declare Oxfam Great Britain persona non grata and they would have to leave the country without further delay,” Fleurant said.
Haiti’s Minister of Planning and External Cooperation Aviol Fleurant shows a document after a meeting with Oxfam International Regional Director for Latin America, Simon Ticehurst, and Oxfam Intermon Executive Affiliate Unit head, Margalida Massot, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez CasaresAlain Lemithe, a lawyer representing Oxfam Great Britain, called the decision to suspend the charity “hasty and political”, saying that it was not based on clear evidence of wrongdoing.
“For example, they accused the organization of sexual abuse and use of minors,” Lemithe said. “Those are very serious allegations which until now have never been proven.”
Slideshow (3 Images)In a separate statement, Fleurant accused Oxfam staff of committing acts of “sexual abuse” and exploitation.
The minister said Oxfam Great Britain had “deliberately omitted” to alert Haitian authorities about the alleged misconduct, thereby allowing perpetrators to escape justice.
Allegations of misconduct surfaced through media investigations and an internal Oxfam report. Fleurant said the revelations had besmirched the “honor and dignity” of Haiti’s people.
The suspension of the charity’s right to operate did not apply to Oxfam Canada, he said.
Brit Newlywed Jon Udall Dies 12 Days After Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash That Killed Three Other Brits And Left His Bride ‘critical’
A NEWLYWED has become the fourth Brit to die in a horrifying Grand Canyon helicopter crash.
Jon Udall has died 12 days after the shocking accident – his new wife, Ellie Milward, is still in a critical condition in hospital.
Jon Udall and his wife Ellie – the pair were on their honeymoon in America
The pair were on their honeymoon in Las Vegas when they took the helicopter tour.
Pictures of the happy couple celebrating their marriage just months before emerged in the days that followed.
Six passengers and a pilot were on board the Papillon Airways EC-130 when it crashed into the Arizona landmark.
A family friend wrote a heartbroken post confirming Jon’s death on a Just Giving page set up to help pay for their medical costs after the accident.
Jon had been in hospital for 12 days but died from his injuries
Jon and Ellie on their wedding day just months before the horrifying crash
AP:Associated Press A survivor was pitched miraculously walking away from the burning helicopter
He said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I must type this. Our Good friend Jon Udall has succumbed to his injuries.
“He was strong, brave and I will never forget him. I will update this page when possible.
“Ellie is critical and is continuing to fight.”
Stuart Hill, celebrating his 30th birthday, his girlfriend Becky Dobson, 27, and his brother Jason, 32, were killed.
Caters They were in America as part of their honeymoon after having got married months before
He had got married just months before the accident Three British tourists killed in a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon have been named by US police
Pals Jennifer Barham, 39, and honeymooning couple Ellie, 29, and Jon, 32, were fighting for their lives in hospital last night – tragically Jon has since died.
Witnesses described scenes of chaos after spotting the sight-seeing aircraft engulfed in flames approximately 600ft inside the ravine.
Jon was trapped in the wreckage for eight hours before being rescued after Ellie staggered free.
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