US used secret surveillance to gather information on Huawei

Posted Apr 5, 2019 by Ken Hanly
US authorities gathered information on Huawei Technologies through secret surveillance obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to use in a case that charges the company with violating US sanctions against Iran.
The arrest of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has sparked an escalating diplomatic crisis between...
The arrest of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has sparked an escalating diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and Beijing
-, CTV/AFP/File
Wikipedia describes FISA as follows: "The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA" Pub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1783, 50 U.S.C. ch. 36) is a United States federal law which establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" suspected of espionage or terrorism.[1] The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It has been repeatedly amended since the September 11 attacks."
Note that the act it usually used where espionage or terrorism is suspected. Documents released by Edward Snowden on the court's activities caused the court to demand the government release some of the documents about its decisions as reported in a Digital Journal article. A 2013 Digital Journal article discusses the legality of FISA proceedings.
US assistant Attorney General Alex Solomon said at a hearing of a federal court in Brooklyn that the evidence would require classified handling. Information gathered under FISA is generally used in espionage cases. The US government told Huwaei in a court filing on Thursday that it intended to use the information and said it was "obtained or derived from electronic surveillance and physical search" but gave no details.
For some time, the US has been putting pressure on other countries to drop Huawei from their 5G cellular networks as they worry its equipment could be used for spying. A recent Digital Journal article last month discussed Huawei as a security risk. Not surprisingly, the company claims that the security fears are unfounded.
Bryan Frey, a former federal prosecutor said: "The reason they typically would have gotten the surveillance through a FISA court is where we suspect someone may be spying on behalf of a foreign power." He noted that the US government has been concerned about Huawei espionage for years. Huawei did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Last month, Reuters reported how U.S. authorities secretly tracked Huawei's activities, including by collecting information copied from electronic devices carried by Chinese telecom executives traveling through airports.
Skycom and Zhou Meng arrest
Huawei claims that Skycom was a local business partner but prosecutors claim that it was actually an unofficial subsidiary of Huawei that was used to conceal Huawei's business with Iran. The US authorities claim the company was used to obtain embargoed US goods, technology and services in Iran, and to move money using the international banking system.
The chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei, Zhou Meng, was arrested at Vancouver Airport Canada December last year at the request of the US. Proceedings for her extradition are ongoing at present. Meng is fighting extradition and has launched a suit against the Canadian government for her arrest.