Pompeo Again Threatens Germany: Drop Huawei Or Intelligence Sharing Blocked

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has again put Germany and the rest of Europe on notice regarding China's controversial telecom giant Huawei, warning they could be cut off from crucial US intelligence sharing over Huawei's 5G networks now being built.

Pompeo issued the ultimatum following a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday, saying the decision on whether to allow Huawei equipment would have severe consequences, according to Reuters. His words came at the start of a five-day European tour: “They [Germany] will take their own sovereign decisions, [but we] will speak to them openly about the risks... and in the case of Huawei the concern is it is not possible to mitigate those anywhere inside of a 5G network,” Pompeo said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. File photo via RFERL

Germany, alongside the UK and France, has refused to budge amidst the ratcheting pressure from the US over worries that China's intelligence is using its next generation networks as "back door" for aggressive telecommunications eavesdropping.

Pompeo told the news conference further: “(There is) a risk we will have to change our behavior in light of the fact that we can’t permit data on private citizens or data on national security to go across networks that we don’t have confidence (in).”

As we reported previously the Trump administration first notified its Berlin counterparts of the intelligence sharing concerns in early March, when US Ambassador to Germany Richard A. Grenell told Germany’s economics minister in an official letter that the European ally and intelligence partner "wouldn’t be able to keep intelligence and other information sharing at their current level if Germany allowed Huawei or other Chinese vendors to participate in building the country’s 5G network."

It was noted at the time the warning is "likely to cause alarm among German security circles" amid persistent terror threat, largely the result of Merkel's disastrous "Open Door" policies which allowed over 1 million middle eastern immigrants into he country. And yet it appears Germany's national security state establishment has remained unmoved, or at least unable to prevail over Merkel's government. 

Meanwhile on Thursday a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman responded to the White House position at a moment Pompeo keeps up the pressure campaign on European allies, saying, the US has not offered proof that Huawei’s products present a security risk.

“We hope that the United States can stop these mistaken actions which are not at all commensurate with their status and position as a big country,” said spokesman Geng Shuang, according to Reuters. 

And Huawei, for its part, is reportedly taking steps to block its employees from taking part in technical meetings with American contacts, which has even included sending home American employees that were based at its Chinese headquarters in Shenzen.