Former Intelligence Committee Chairman, Congressman Mike Rogers, Advises CFIUS To Closely Examine The National Security Implications of Sprint T-Mobile Merger; Experts Announced the Launch of Protect America’s Wireless

For Immediate Release: November 5th, 2018
Press Contact: Nicky Vogt at [email protected]

Link to Audio Recording of Today’s Press Call

Citing serious national security concerns, experts unveiled a public awareness campaign calling for President Trump, Congress, and the FCC to properly vet the merger and put America’s national security interests first

Washington, D.C. - On a press call held today, foreign policy professionals called for additional scrutiny of the Sprint T-Mobile merger and announced the launch of Protect America’s Wireless, a public awareness campaign lead by experts in the field including former senior State Department officials. The speakers warned that the pending merger could give foreign countries unprecedented access to our networks through the use of foreign-made networking equipment and billions of foreign money.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of these national security risks and to protect American wireless networks by ensuring these concerns are properly vetted while the merger is under scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) and other U.S. agencies. Protect America’s Wireless is calling on President Trump, Congress, and the FCC to protect our national security by denying these foreign interests access to America’s wireless communications.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers said, “Huawei,  ZTE and China telecom all work together in an ecosystem that is coordinated in a way that we would be absolutely naïve not to pay attention to in regards to companies with serious connections to Huawei and ZTE as they're building out in other places around the world, and what that would mean to the threat to our systems and our intellectual property here in the United States. I hope this is a big consideration, and I know CFIUS is going to look at this, and look at this hard. My encouragement is they should look at it hard, and if these companies ever wanted to move forward on anything, they would have to fundamentally make commitments, I would hope they'd be willing to make, but I'm not sure that they're willing to make at this point.”

David Wade, former State Department Chief of Staff said, “Major mergers and transactions affecting America’s public infrastructure have always provided forums to discuss a range of issues including national security and foreign policy interests. You don’t have to reach far back to remember the year long public debate over Dubai Ports World.  In a global economy and a dangerous world, a merger that would facilitate the creation of America’s first 5G network, reliant on so much foreign investment, will be a proxy discussion for a host of international issues that matter to policy makers and consumers alike, including vetting concerns about our interest, our security, and our values. That’s an important debate and I’m grateful to these respected and experienced foreign policy voices for contributing to it.”

Ali Al-Ahmed, The Gulf Institute, said, “I am a long time customer of T-Mobile, so are many of my friends. This makes me extremely uncomfortable to see Saudi-backed control of my cell provider. I am a journalist, and critic of the Saudi government. Khashoggi was a T-Mobile customer too. According to the New York Times this past week, the Saudi authorities were looking for Khashoggi's phone after murdering him and kept asking the Turkish government for it. This shows that the Saudi government is extremely focused on obtaining phone records, contacts, and contents of their critics.The Saudi government is doing this even before they have several seats on the board of T-Mobile. Just imagine what they will try after they have some access. I do not feel safe now, and I will not feel safer if MBS and his men have access to my cell provider.”

Dr. Trita Parsi, Adjunct Professor of International Relations at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University said, “The Saudi Crown Prince - besides ordering the murder of a Washington Post columnist - is actively destabilizing the Middle East and putting Americans at risk. To provide him with the leverage of being a key stakeholder in America’s telecommunications infrastructure of the future is beyond unwise. Americans simply don’t want to have the Saudi government anywhere near their cell phones.”

Kyle Downey, former GOP leadership staff, said, “Regardless of Tuesday’s results, I expect the incoming Congress to ask the tough questions it should about the safety and security of America’s wireless networks surrounding this merger and beyond. These are the type of concerns that unite members from both sides of the aisle.”