20 February: Andrew Hampton, the head of New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), has spoken his mind about the threat posed by Huawei. As reported in Economy vs Espionage (below), the UK’s intelligence services are coming under significant pressure to approve the use of Huawei technology in line with the UK government’s “balanced approach” policy. The question is becoming acute because of fears that trade losses post-Brexit will need to be made up by early trade deals in such markets as China. The UK government believes that friendship with China will give the UK a trade advantage that its intelligence allies do not have.
This same thought has obviously occurred to the UK’s intelligence allies. New Zealand has already banned Huawei technology, largely because of the analysis of the GCSB. As he was leaving a NZ Intelligence and Security Committee hearing, Hampton was confronted by journalists, some of whom wanted to know if banning Hauwei tech might cost New Zealand the friendship and therefore the vital trade opportunites of China?
“I am in the national security business. I am not in the foreign affairs business,” barked Hampton.
Good for him.