White House walks back national 5G network report
On Monday, White House officials stressed that an internally circulating report from the National Security Council that proposed the nationalization of the United States’s upcoming 5G network was “dated.”
Sources told Recode that the report, first brought to Axios, was only mentioned by a senior NSC official and was not seriously being considered. The council did not respond to a request for comment.
The report suggested that the federal government either build or acquire and then own and operate the network as a bid to counter against Chinese actors, which the NSC considers a threat in the information domain.
The revelation of its existence — which has garnered negative reviews from tech media and the FCC — came shortly after it was reported that regulatory pressure had forced AT&T and Verizon to drop carriage of one of Huawei’s flagship smartphones. The Chinese manufacturer had been accused of espionage and sanction breaches through the sale and make-up of its telecom equipment.
While not acted upon, the memorandum is a key indicator of how much weight the Trump administration perceives it is coming against with the Chinese in terms of trade and cybersecurity.