US may stop sharing intelligence with the UK after Huawei decision, Mike Pompeo tells LBC

30 January 2020, 16:46 | Updated: 30 January 2020, 17:10

By Fiona Jones

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggests the US will not share intelligence with the UK after Boris Johnson's "disappointing" Huawei decision in his only UK broadcast interview on LBC.

This is after the government agreed to give the Chinese tech giant a limited role in the UK's 5G network construction despite the US voicing concerns for national security.

"We said we were disappointed, we view the intrusion of the Chinese Communist Party and to information technologies systems as a very great risk, a national security risk as well as a core privacy risk.

"If your health records are on a system that belongs and is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, that's not something you'd probably choose in the first instance," Mr Pompeo said.

"So we are looking forward to working with our United K partners on the security elements of this and then working alongside them to develop what we think about as trusted networks.

"It's not about Huawei, it's about ensuring that the information that we put our citizens' data on is secure and safe," he said.

Iain asked if the US administration had lobbied Boris Johnson to ban equipment from the Chinese tech giant and use other suppliers, as earlier in the week the Secretary of State spoke out against the deal in a Tweet.

"We had hoped that they would follow our lead and ban Huawei products from our marketplace, that's right," said Mr Pompeo.

Iain asked if Britain has given Germany and Canada cover to do the same thing.

"Just as with the United Kingdom I hope they make their own sovereign decision," he said, "they'll make the choices that they think are in the best interests of their own people.

"Our view of the technology and the data is that putting this Chinese technology inside these systems is very difficult to mitigate. The United Kingdom came to a slightly different conclusion.

"Now we have a responsibility to do two things: one we need to continue to talk to them about the risks as we see them so they can continue to develop their plans and policies. And then we have an obligation to protect American information that might travel across these systems as well."

"Could it affect the Five Eyes arrangement?" asked Iain, referring to the intelligence treaty, "would you withhold intelligence from Britain and maybe other countries that go down this road?"

"We would certainly never put American information in a place that we don't deem it safe," the US Secretary for State said.