UK National Security Council to investigate Huawei 5G leak

Senior cabinet ministers are given ultimatums to come clean.

Photo:Shutterstock.com

The British government set up a formal inquiry looking into the leak of a confidential discussion it had over the role of Huawei in the UK’s 5G network supply chain, according to the BBC.

The head of the inquiry, cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill, reportedly gave senior cabinet ministers who attended Tuesday’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting an ultimatum to come clean if they were involved in leaking the details of said meeting to the Daily Telegraph.

The NSC’s weekly meetings are chaired by the prime minister and the country’s intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, MI6, and MI5, and share confidential intelligence.

The Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday that the UK Prime Minister and other NSC members had agreed to allow Chinese telecoms giant Huawei to supply parts for the country’s 5G system. This was controversial because one of the UK’s most important allies, the United States, is pressuring the country to close its doors on Huawei. The US thinks allowing the telecoms equipment maker to participate in building out 5G infrastructure worldwide poses a security threat. The NSC hasn’t formally denied that the information is correct.

The UK government’s decision to allow the Chinese company to play a role in its 5G plans came across as a vote of confidence in Huawei.

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has categorically denied that its network equipment might enable the  Chinese government to collect data through built-in technical backdoors. It’s also denying allegations that it has taken money from various branches of the Chinese state intelligence network.

Jiang Xisheng, chief secretary of Huawei’s board of directors, said at a press conference in Shenzhen yesterday. “There is certainly no state-owned capital in Huawei.”

Editor: Nadine Freischlad

Write to Luna Lin at [email protected]