A recent report from CNN detailed that, in one instance among many, China or Chinese-based companies attempted to disrupt or even intercept communications with structures they had built near strategic locations in the United States.
"This gets into some of the most sensitive things we do," one former FBI official said. "It would impact our ability for essentially command and control with the nuclear triad."
The report opened with an account of the Chinese government offering in 2017 to spend $100 million to construct an ornate Chinese garden at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The garden was to feature temples, pavilions, and a 70-foot white pagoda.
But upon further inspection, they discovered the pagoda was to be placed at one of the highest points in D.C. More alarming was the discovery that Chinese officials wanted the pagoda constructed using materials shipped in diplomatic pouches, which U.S. Customs officials are prevented from examining.
Fed officials then quietly killed the project.
Beginning at least as far back as 2017, federal officials have been investigating land purchases near critical infrastructures in the U.S. One of the FBI's alarming discoveries was the Huawei equipment atop cell towers near U.S. military bases.
The FBI concluded that the equipment could "capture and disrupt highly restricted Defense Department communications, including those used by U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the country's nuclear weapons."
Multiple sources familiar with the investigation told CNN there's no question the Huawei equipment can intercept not only commercial cell traffic but also some highly restricted airwaves used by the military.
Eduardo Rojas, who leads the radio spectrum lab at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, said, "It's not technically hard to make a device that complies with the [Federal Communications Commission] that listens to nonpublic bands but then is quietly waiting for some activation trigger to listen to other bands. Technically, it's feasible."
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