The US is reviewing whether all intelligence and military assets – including spy planes – should be pulled out of the United Kingdom after Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed Chinese tech giant Huawei help build part of the country’s 5G network, according to a report.
The Pentagon, the State Department, and 17 intelligence agencies are carrying out the review under the guidance of the National Security Council to determine if personnel, classified intelligence and military equipment could be exposed to vulnerabilities, the Telegraph reported on Tuesday, citing security sources.
Among the assets under review are American RC-135 reconnaissance airplanes that have been used to gather information about the Islamic State terror group.
The six aircraft, officially stationed in Nebraska, operate out of the Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Sussex, where about 500 US troops are based, the report said.
US intelligence agents are also being looked at because officials fear their phones could be compromised by the 5G network while conducting classified missions.
“This was not a bluff. You cannot mitigate the danger Boris Johnson is exposing the UK to by letting Huawei into the network,” a former official of the National Security Council told the newspaper, adding that it’s “likely” assets would be removed.
“This review is not a punishment. This is the White House saying ‘okay, if they’re going to go down this path and put themselves at risk then how do we protect ourselves,’” the person explained.
Johnson said the Chinese ruling Communist Party would be barred from working on critical parts of the wireless network, including area military facilities and nuclear sites.
Huawei would only be allowed to work on 35 percent of non-sensitive parts of the network.
But US officials fear that by giving Huawei access to any part of the network would give the government access to the whole system. President Trump reportedly “tore into” Johnson during a phone call in January after the UK announced Huawei would be allowed in the 5G network.
The president accused Johnson of creating a national security threat because Huawei is an extension of the communist government and helps Beijing steal secrets.
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