GCSB head Hampton gazumped by Pompeo

Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, February 22nd, 2019 - 18 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, interweb, Spying, surveillance, us politics - Tags:

On Wednesday GCSB chief Andrew Hampton told a Select Committee there was absolutely “no pressure” publicly or privately on his decision to block Huawei. On Thursday US Secretary of State Pompeo publicly warned that “United States would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei Technologies Co Ltd systems.” What a difference a day makes.

Hampton said  on Wednesday

“My decision was independent from ministers and while we share intelligence with Five Eyes partners, there was no pressure, request or demands made by partners, either publicly or privately, to ban any vendor,” he said. 

Pompeo was interviewed on Fox Business News by Maria Bartiromo. The FiveSpies partners had been mentioned explicitly when Pompeo made the above remark. Pompeo also said that the US had been warning partners around the world for some months about Huawei.  Hampton must have been out of the office the day the US called “some months” ago.

Bernard at MoonofAlabama has a good discussion of the issues. His view is that the real issue for the US is that it is behind in the development of the technology, and the security issues are a cover for their attempts to  block Huawei. He concludes:

If “the west” delays 5G deployment while China implements it, Chinese companies will have the time advantage to create the products which will run on top of the new global communication layer. It would allow China to incubate the next Google and Amazon like giants before other countries can even test the basic technology. That is the very reason why European countries do not follow the U.S. lead.

It was short term thinking that let the U.S. drop the ball on next generation telecommunications. If it wants to regain the lead it will have to change that attitude.

You do have to wonder if we really need FiveSpies in the internet age when we are all under surveillance.


18 comments on “GCSB head Hampton gazumped by Pompeo”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    well well well, what do we ’ave ’ere then…

    another top GCSB git running the classic “two track” political strategy, saying one thing for public consumption while grubbiness goes on behind the scenes

  2. Dukeofurl 2

    Pompeo isnt head of the CIA anymore or connected in anyway to the NSA.

    Its more likely to be a White House/State department opinion.

    I understand that one of the ‘features’ on being in 5Eyes, is that they dont spy on you.
    And of course China is hacking central.

    • Morrissey 2.1


      After all the revelations of the last decade, you’re still complacent?


  3. Jake 3

    Why is Kitterage still at the GCSB? Wasn’t her inane report on the spying of NZ’s enough to discredit her?
    Anyone know?

  4. gsays 4

    Thank you Mike for this.
    For me, the last sentence is the most poignant- “You do have to wonder if we really need FiveSpies in the internet age when we are all under surveillance”.

    A lot of us rush out, queue up and pay inordinate amounts of money for the latest (often Chinese made) surveillance device.
    A long way from the paranoid imaginings of a generation ago, where micro chipping was part of our Orwellian dystopian future.

  5. Ad 5

    The United States security establishment has a credible fear of an undetectable state-sponsored spying across a network …………. because the United States government managed to achieve exactly that through its National Security Agency (NSA).

    In 2014, leaked NSA documents revealed among other things that the NSA spy agency straight-up intercepted and bugged Cisco gear on its way to buyers, to spy on network traffic. They also exploited remotely accessible vulnerabilities in Cisco firewalls. They also used a combination of secret laws and clandestine operations to tap into internet and mobile networks across the globe. Anyone remember Snowden?

    And then President Obama was required to personally assure German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the NSA was definitely not tapping her own mobile phone – except that he used language that appeared to confirm the US had been doing exactly that for years.

    Since the NSA did that to homegrown American tech giant Cisco, no wonder Uncle Sam is paranoid about China’s spies and Huawei.

    That would give Germany some pretty good motivation to open up their own 5G airspace auction to Huawei which is coming up fast … and maybe ask the hard security questions of the U.S. suppliers.

    As for spy agencies, we need them for the indefeatable but circular reason that we have to defeat everyone else’s spy agencies. And no, they are never going to go away.

    • Anne 5.1

      It’s a pot/kettle situation alright and it’s never going to change.

      To be fair to the GCSB chief, Andrew Hampton made his comments before Mike Pompeo delivered his statement. I doubt there has been individual warnings of any note. Pompeo coming out with it during a major TV interview is all that was needed. It would not surprise me if it was set up in advance with the Fox news interviewer to give Pompeo the opportunity to deliver the warning in the first place.

      The Five Eye partner countries and the European Union countries should Ignore the current US regime and choose Huawei. That would leave the US isolated from the rest of the Western intelligence community.

      It works both ways Mr Pompeo and company. You isolate us and we’ll isolate you.

  6. Gabby 6

    No pressure – maybe the Hampster wants out of 5Lies.

  7. cleangreen 7

    China is not to be trusted any more than USA or Europe.

    So now is the time for us to act iin our own interests, and we should develop our own super bug free portal here in ‘gods own’ – as we are always claiming we have some very smarty IT companies dont we; – right?

    • James 7.1

      Considering you are the person who said how easy it would be to use tech to replace Uber – it’s obvious you have absolutely zero technical understanding.

      Let’s just whip up a 5g network – ffs this government can’t even build houses.

  8. Katipo 8

    Not sure we should be trusting any proprietary network solutions whether they be from Huawei or whoever.
    Tell them all to bugger off opt for an open source 5G hardware rollout.

    • Macro 8.1

      Tend to agree – the main problem however with 5G is that because it is such a distributed network, it is consistently vulnerable to whomever chooses to want to snoop. I’m not sure that they sorted that problem out yet.

    • xanthe 8.2

      Yes yes open source is the nearest thing to “secure” . Otherwise its just choose yr oppressor

  9. Paul Campbell 9

    I work in tech in this area, the claims about Huawei could be true, as yet there’s no public evidence. The same claims have been made about Cisco, and there is evidence (from Snowden).

    From my point of view their all suspect, Huawei just a little less so – I figure that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs – if the GCSB/NSA have proof about Huawei let them make their evidence public, they have nothing to lose by doing so …. On the other hand if they’re unable to do so we can reasonably assume that they are making stuff up to encourage companies to install hardware they already have back doors in.

  10. Jenny - How to get there? 10

    The Panopticon is not a one way lens.

    In the age of the internet there are no secrets.

    Not ours, not theirs.

    What I mean by this, is that even the most clandestine and secretive spying agencies are completely vulnerable to having their secrets splayed across the front pages of the world.

    Edward Snowden showed that.

    The panopticon is not a one way lens

    Andrew Hampton and other spy chiefs have yet to accept this new reality, If you are going to tell a lie, it is going to be exposed.

    As Winston Churchill once said, a secret is only really safe if it is shared by only two people and one of those people is dead. In the age of the internet this is more true than ever before. The reason; where once centrally organised news media could ignore and so censor a whistle blower the new decentralised media knows no limits to the spread of information.

    If someone, other than you, knows your secrets the internet gives that person almost unlimited power to expose you.

    Strange as it may seem and against the expectation of spies like Andrew Hampton, and others like him, the panopticon is not a one way lens.

  11. Eco Maori 11


  12. Very debateable who you can trust these days, I am very skeptical about the USA and the Chinese, and even our own Government for that matter IMHO ?

  13. Pat 13

    An old fashioned stoush over economic clout with a modern twist….privacy was lost years ago, its simply a question of who you prefer to monitor (and influence) what happens….same old, same old.


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