Foreign Companies Not Trustworthy to Handle US National Security Functions

November 24, 2021 Updated: November 28, 2021

Commentary

Americans probably owe our independence to foreigners. After all, the British employed Hessians to fight on their side in the Revolutionary War. These German troops didn’t really have skin in the game. They were paid regardless of whether they fought well or were captured in their barracks. And so, many were captured in their barracks.

When it comes to military questions, patriotism matters. So does reliability. By that logic, the European company Airbus should never be in the running for any U.S. defense contracts because it lacks both traits.

As the U.S. Air Force considers adopting a multirole tanker transport based on Airbus’s A330 jetliner, the sanctity of U.S. national security is a concern. Awarding Airbus U.S. defense contracts could put our national security at risk, as Airbus has alarming ties to communist China and its governmental officials, and is actively working with state-owned companies such as the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC).

The facts show that Airbus has colluded with Chinese government officials. According to the Department of Justice, between 2013 and 2015, Airbus engaged a business partner in China to bribe Chinese government officials in connection with the approval of certain agreements associated with the purchase and sale of Airbus aircraft to state-owned and state-controlled Chinese airlines.

Between 2011 and 2016, Airbus also “filed numerous applications for the export of defense articles and defense services to foreign armed forces.” As part of its applications, Airbus was required to provide “information related to political contributions, fees, or commissions paid in connection with the sale of defense articles or defense services.”

Following an investigation, on Jan. 31, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that “the admissions and court documents reveal, however, that the Company engaged in a criminal conspiracy to knowingly and willfully violate the AECA [U.S. Arms Export Control Act] and ITAR [International Traffic in Arms Regulations], by failing to provide DDTC [Directorate of Defense Trade Controls] with accurate information related to commissions paid by Airbus to third-party brokers who were hired to solicit, promote or otherwise secure the sale of defense articles and defense services to foreign armed forces.”

David P. Burns, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s National Security Division, said that “international corruption involving sensitive U.S. defense technology presents a particularly dangerous combination. Today’s announcement demonstrates the Department’s continuing commitment to ensuring that those who violate our export control laws are held to account.”

Airbus agreed to pay an almost $4 billion settlement to the United States, UK, and France to avoid prosecution in a case involving other countries as well as China.

AVIC is a part-owner of the A330 completion and delivery center in Tianjin, China, and has a joint venture with Airbus to make material parts and components for its jets. Airbus also owns 5 percent of an AVIC subsidiary.

AVIC is working to improve China’s defense capabilities in air and space and could obtain classified information or technologies critical to national security through its partnerships.

“The inauguration of our A330 C&DC in Tianjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a new milestone for Airbus’ international footprint and underlines the strong spirit of cooperation with our Chinese partners,” Airbus COO Fabrice Brégier said at the time.

Additionally, Airbus shares data with controversial Chinese companies such as Alibaba Group.

In 2019, Airbus entered into an agreement with Alibaba Cloud, Alibaba Group’s data intelligence backbone, to develop a Skywise Data Center in China. The system helps airlines optimize internal operations and support safety, and would utilize the local data center in China.

However, the Chinese regime and police are known to work with Alibaba, using its data and surveillance footage to identify persons of interest, which could include dissidents as well as the oppressed Tibetans and Uyghurs. Alibaba doesn’t routinely disclose its activities with the Chinese regime, undermining the security and confidentiality of Airbus’s work with the U.S. government.

According to its website, Airbus was the first supplier of Earth observation satellites and imagery services to China and has become a leader in that market. It’s worth questioning whether Airbus has been involved in China’s surveillance and imaging efforts through Beijing Spot Image Co. Ltd. (BSI). This Chinese limited company is a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space-Intelligence in France and the Aerospace Information Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

BSI has provided more than 100 million square kilometers of imagery over 20 years. The company has been awarded contracts for nationwide projects in the natural resources, transportation, maritime safety, water resource, and agriculture sectors.

On April 28, Airbus’s Pleiades Neo 3, a high-resolution 30-centimeter imaging satellite, was sent to space. In yet another example of Airbus’s mixed allegiances between the free world and China’s communist regime, a Chinese company has signed up to purchase the spy satellite-quality images.

Is this a company the United States can trust as a partner in building defense platforms? With these disturbing connections to China, Airbus appears to be a mercenary company in the tradition of the German Hessian troops. It can’t have U.S. national defense in mind when it bribes government officials and schemes to win contracts.

Airbus’s ties with China are clear. The company’s own website advertises many of the concerning connections listed above. Our country can’t afford to award defense contracts that are critical to the Air Force’s reliability, functionality, and global mobility to a contractor with noted ties to Chinese defense and intelligence.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Art Harman
Art Harman is the president of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration. He was the legislative director and foreign policy advisor for Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress, and is a veteran policy analyst and grass-roots political expert.