As Congress slams Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE as posing a national security threat, it appears that its American competitors have been pushing the same line. The Washington Post has obtained a seven-page presentation titled "Huawei’s & National Security," meant to help Cisco representatives persuade clients to reject Huawei on security grounds. According to the Cisco-written document, "Fear of Huawei spreads globally... Despite denials, Huawei has struggled to de-link itself from China’s People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese government."

It's not a surprising strategy for Cisco, which has previously criticized Huawei for not "playing by the rules" in the telecommunications industry. At that point, CEO John Chambers focused on Huawei's intellectual property policy, but national security issues were brought up as well. According to anonymous senior Hill staffers, other US tech companies have made similar moves, urging members of Congress to investigate Huawei. For domestic companies worried about foreign competition, the existing fears of politicians and other security staff can be advantageous, letting businesses turn standard practice into a kind of patriotism. As one staffer puts it, "You get competitors who are able to gin up lawmakers who are already wound up about China." Huawei, ZTE, and the Chinese government have denied any wrongdoing, and it's not yet clear what effect the report will have on the companies.