The Trump administration is really quite grumpy about the fact that the UK has decided to allow controversial Chinese company Huawei to contribute to its 5G network.
Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has darkly stated that there'll be a "direct and dramatic impact" on the US sharing sensitive information with the UK if the Huawei deal continues, meaning the UK could miss out on important international intelligence.
Addressing the Oxford Union, Mulvaney said:
"Our governments share a tremendous amount of security information.
We are very much concerned that integrity of that information is hardwired into your computer systems, and if you folks go forward with the decision to include Huawei, it will have a direct and dramatic impact on our ability to share information with you. Period, end of story."
UK intelligence leadership, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that any problems with Huawei are surmountable, and that they know what they're doing, thanks very much. The company contributed to the UK's 3G and 4G network, and is one of the main suppliers of UK telecoms equipment.
The UK has been reluctant to reject Huawei the way the US has done, because doing so will apparently significantly delay the rollout of 5G, putting us behind other countries, and ramp up the cost by hundreds of millions of pounds. Instead, our government has decided to limit Huawei's involvement in 5G to 35 per cent of any given phone network.
That's not good enough for the US, which is rumoured to be planning to ask the UK to agree to getting rid of Huawei entirely over the next five years or so. Mulvaney is in this country with White House special representative for international telecommunications policy (that's a long business card, flippin' 'eck) Robert Blair. Both men will be having meetings with key UK experts and politicians while they're here, which may or may not include the words "Huawei's got coronavirus" and "you can't sit with us!!!!" [The Guardian]