The NSA has sought to create back doors into the networks of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies in an effort to learn whether the company was spying on behalf of Beijing, according to a leaked document. The agency also apparently hoped to take advantage of the presence of Huawei equipment in the networks of other countries of interest, such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya and Cuba, according to the document leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
On Saturday, the New York Times published an article based on slides obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as well as interviews with anonymous intelligence officials that alleged the NSA had broken into the servers of Chinese telecom giant Huawei. There, the spy agency obtained sensitive information about the company’s routers and switches that served to link its customers to its network. The NSA also monitored the communications of Huawei’s executives, the NYT reports. The US has long had a fraught relationship with Huawei, a company that has maintained that it is independent from the Chinese government and has no ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Still, citing national security concerns, US authorities blocked Huawei’s purchase of 3Com in 2008, accused it of un-American activities in 2012, and then convinced Sprint and SoftBank to limit their use of Huawei gear in 2013.