Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah tells Newsmax he is "concerned" about a bid to buy telecom giant Sprint Nextel Corp. by a foreign company with ties to a Chinese firm accused of launching cyberattacks on the United States.
The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Corp. announced in October that it was seeking approval from the United States for a $20 billion purchase of a 70 percent stake in Sprint, America's third-largest cellphone provider.
Last month Dish Network, an Englewood, Colo.-based satellite TV company, challenged SoftBank's bid for Sprint, offering $25.5 billion for the entire company. The reason for concern is SoftBank's close financial and other links to the Chinese telecom firm Huawei.
In October 2012, the House Intelligence Committee concluded that U.S. firms should not do business with Huawei or another Chinese telecom firm, ZTE, because of their extensive ties to the Chinese government, and also found that the two firms posed a major cybersecurity threat to U.S. intellectual property.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Sen. Hatch comments on the committee's findings and the proposed SoftBank deal: "If those things are true, of course I'm concerned about it. Even if they're not true, I'm concerned about people saying these things.
"But we cannot tolerate cyberattacks no matter what the arguments are. I hope that's not true, but I wouldn’t put anything past the people involved."
On Monday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Newsmax the SoftBank offer "definitely needs to be not only scrutinized, it needs to be curtailed without some clear understanding as to what the implications could be.
"We know that China has been illegally eavesdropping. We cannot afford to allow something as significant as our communications networks to be in the hands of a country that has proven not to be trustworthy when it comes to information."
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