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White House-ordered Huawei probe reveals no evidence of spying, says Reuters (update)

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Huawei Ascend P1 stock 1024 lead
Huawei Ascend P1 stock 1024 lead

A White House-ordered probe has revealed no evidence that telecommunications company Huawei spied for the Chinese government, sources tell Reuters. According to two people apparently familiar with the review, there was nothing to indicate active spying, although one source says that "certain parts of government really wanted" such evidence. This contrasts sharply with a US Congressional report released last week, calling both Huawei and ZTE, another major Chinese tech company, a national security risk. The report's findings have not been announced publicly, and White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment. It doesn't seem to have looked for backdoors or other potential future threats, a concern of Congress.

The US House Intelligence Committee previously reported that Huawei and ZTE had failed to provide information about their interaction with the Chinese government, and that possible cases of bribery or corruption had been found. The two were also singled out for being a threat to US intellectual property. Both companies have denied the charges, and the Chinese government accused Congress of searching to reach a "predetermined outcome." While it's not clear what the reports will mean for Huawei and ZTE, this case is part of a larger rivalry, both between the American and Chinese governments and between Huawei and companies like Cisco, which appears to have lobbied for the investigation.

Update: Though they originally declined to comment on the matter, White House officials are now refuting Reuters' account. "The White House has not conducted any classified inquiry that resulted in clearing any telecom equipment supplier," said White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden in a statement. The technicality-laden response seems to be carefully construed though, and Reuters is sticking by its story at the moment.

Hayden did offer confirmation that Huawei was prohibited from being part of an emergency first-response network last year, attributing the barring to "U.S. government national security concerns." For its part, Huawei has reiterated that its equipment is safe and that the manufacturer "respects the obligation to protect national security of all countries" where that hardware is available.