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Biden commerce secretary pick won’t promise to keep Huawei on blacklist

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While pledging a tough line on China, President Joe Biden‘s nominee for secretary of commerce would not promise to keep the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei on the United States’ economic blacklist.

“We can’t have the Chinese or really anyone having a backdoor into our network and compromising in any way our national or economic security,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said at her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.

When talking about Huawei, Raimondo said she would “use the full tool kit at my disposal […] to protect Americans and our network from Chinese interference or any kind of backdoor influence into our network.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brought up that Huawei was one of many Chinese companies that had been placed on the Bureau of Industry and Security’s entities list under the Trump administration for their role in the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mass surveillance and repression of Uighur Muslims. On his last day in the department, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the actions of the Chinese government as “genocide,” a view which Biden and his newly appointed Secretary of State Antony Blinken share.

When asked by Cruz if she would promise to maintain those companies on the blacklist, Raimondo said that “I will commit to working with you on that, and I certainly agree with you that the entities list is a powerful tool in the commerce secretary’s tool kit to shore up American national security.”

She was then asked about Huawei, to which Raimondo said that “I will review the policy, consult with you, consult with industry, consult with our allies, and make an assessment as to what’s best for American national and economic security.”

Cruz didn’t seem to like Raimondo’s answer, replying: “Well, I will say that there is chatter in Washington that the Biden administration is contemplating going easy on China and removing companies from the entities list—I certainly hope that does not happen, because I think that would be profoundly contrary to the national security interest of the United States.”

Later, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) published a statement blasting this, saying: “This is ridiculous: Huawei didn’t change because America has a new President. Huawei is still the Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet and a serious threat to national security.”

While White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday underscored “strategic patience” in the Biden administration’s interagency review process and its outreach to Republicans, Democrats, and global allies about its China strategy, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe felt that patience wasn’t the answer. On Monday, Ratcliffe told Fox News that the U.S. stance toward China needed action, not patience, according to The Washington Examiner. During her hearing, Raimondo said multiple times that the Biden administration was engaged in a broad review on how to tackle China.

Back in early December, Ratcliffe labeled China the “greatest threat” to freedom since World War II in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

While no vote was taken immediately on Raimondo’s nomination, Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) predicted she would soon win confirmation, according to The Wall Street Journal.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Experts Say United States Vulnerable to ‘Electromagnetic’ Attack by Chinese

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When Joe Biden was trying to convince Americans to vote for him to become the next President back in 2019, he belittled the concept that China is a danger to the U.S. “Come on man, China’s not a threat” said Biden.

Experts, however, continue to show just how wrong Biden has always been. Fox News reports “experts are warning that the United States is vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from adversaries such as China, and that time is running out to invest in defending the country from it.”

Last week during a virtual forum hosted by the Universal Peace Federation, Peter Vincent Pry, the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, said “that poses a real threat of possibly being able to win a war with a single blow by means of an EMP attack.”

“Moreover…they don’t envision employing an EMP by itself. It would be used in conjunction with cyberattacks and physical sabotage, and non-nuclear EMP” added Pry. Experts also warn that while an EMP attack would be “bloodless” at first, a yearlong blackout could kill roughly 90% of the American population.

Fox News reports:

The U.S. electric grid and other infrastructure – such as communications and transportation systems and water and sewer services – could all be devastated by such an attack, experts like Pry warn, noting that time is of the essence for the U.S. to defend itself.

China already possesses “super EMPs” and last summer tested a new hypersonic glide vehicle that analysts warn could deploy the EMP and cause a long-lasting blackout that would shut down key infrastructure and cripple the military’s ability to communicate.

A Pentagon report on Chinese military capabilities details how China has invested heavily in its EMP program, with a strategy that “emphasizes suppressing, degrading, disrupting or deceiving enemy electronic equipment throughout the continuum of a conflict while protecting its ability to use the cyber and electromagnetic spectrum.”

“The PLA is likely to use electronic warfare early in a conflict as a signaling mechanism to warn and deter adversary offensive action. Potential EW targets include adversary systems operating in radio, radar, microwave, infrared and optical frequency ranges, as well as adversary computer and information systems” adds the report.

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