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‘The CCP Uses America’s Culture Against Us’: Jon Pelson on China’s Huawei Threat

In this special episode, we sat down with Jon Pelson, author of “Wireless Wars: China’s Dangerous Domination of 5G and How We’re Fighting Back.” He spoke about the United States investigating Huawei over its equipment being built near missile and nuclear facilities, the dangers to national security, and what steps need to be taken to stem that threat.

As for why Huawei is a security risk, Pelson said: “So if you make the equipment that goes into a cell tower, Huawei’s not running that network, but they made the equipment, and you never let your hands off of equipment. When you install it, whether it’s for Verizon or AT&T or whether it’s for a rural family-owned company like this, the company that built it has to keep an eye on it and make sure they’re giving software updates, that if there’s a service problem, they can look at the box itself and fix it remotely, you know. Huawei’s not going to fly someone all the way across the world to fix a remote cell tower, so it’s remotely controlled. And so when you have that, you can tell, even if you can’t eavesdrop on what’s being said over the connections—and that’s a possibility; whether or not they can isn’t clear—you can tell through something called metadata. You can tell who’s there on the base that day, who are they calling—so you know the numbers called in and out, you know who they text, you know where they are, you can tell the volume, you can see if there’s a lot of activity going on. If you’ve got a Navy SEAL base—and there’s Huawei equipment around our Navy SEAL bases—and you see there’s suddenly there’s a surge of activity, and these senior people from the Pentagon are now on that SEAL base—because you can tell who’s there, remember that.

“Maybe you can’t hear what they’re saying, but you say, ‘Why are these people at that base?’ A geopolitical rival or an enemy can say, ‘We can tell that America is getting ready to do something.’ And you also have the possibility of saying, ‘We’re going to send a signal out here, and now that cell site’s not going to work so well.’ The vast majority of military communications go over the public network, not over end-to-end Department of Defense networks. And so … the company running the equipment has the possibility of being able to deactivate it or throttle it, which in a time of crisis would be very damaging, very dangerous.”

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