Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., told Newsmax on Thursday that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew could not answer basic questions on Chinese Communist Party espionage.
Joining "The Record With Greta Van Susteren," Mast said Chew obfuscated concerns surrounding the Chinese government's ability to access the private data of American citizens from the social media platform.
"The CEO — he would have a very difficult time persuading members of Congress, based upon what we've seen. But he wasn't even able to answer in the affirmative that they were not exactly spying on people," Mast said.
"He didn't answer in a way that assured us in any way," he continued. "It would have been difficult for him, though. He was facing an uphill battle, given what we've seen."
Chew was grilled by lawmakers in both parties before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in a Thursday hearing as he made his case for TikTok's business integrity.
But Mast told viewers to view TikTok as a microcosm of the alleged Chinese surveillance balloon "going on inside your phone."
The CCP, he said, has a similar relationship to supposed private industries as "Russia under [former leader Joseph] Stalin."
"We're now in a cold war with them," Mast said about China. "They can do their same nefarious acts by getting directly into our personal information, into our phones, into our homes."
His statement follows the introduction of a bipartisan bill from Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Thune, R-S.D., tackling national security threats from foreign technology has a shot of passing the divided chambers.
The RESTRICT Act, endorsed by the Biden administration, would allow the Department of Commerce (DOC) to deter information and technology transactions that pose "undue or unacceptable risk to national security."
It specifically orders the DOC to "prioritize" technology products "used in critical infrastructure" and the commerce secretary to work alongside the director of national intelligence to educate the public.
Other proposals, including one from Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., single out TikTok and ban it from operating on U.S. soil.
About NEWSMAX TV:
NEWSMAX is the fastest-growing cable news channel in America!
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.