Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., Thursday blasted a $13 million fine on defense contractor Honeywell for sending unauthorized technical data to other countries — including China — as not ''anywhere close to the harm that has been done to the United States interests.''
In an interview on Newsmax TV’s ''John Bachman Now,'' Wittman said the violation ''cuts right to the trustworthiness of Honeywell.''
Honeywell agreed to pay the fine after it transferred tech data on the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets, among other weapon systems, the State Department announced Monday.
''If you look at the value that the Chinese have derived from Honeywell, allowing the Chinese to have … access to blueprints to schematics of critical aircraft like the F-35 the F 22 — these aircraft are our most advanced aircraft, aircraft we've worked diligently on to get an advantage over the Chinese,'' Wittman said.
''And a $13 million fine? No, I don't think it's anywhere close to the harm has been done to United States interests,'' he added.
Wittman suggested the United States should be weighing any future dealings with Honeywell.
''If they're not trustworthy, the question becomes, should they continue to do work for the United States military or for any any efforts of the United States government in our national interest,'' he said. ''I think that's a very specific question that has to be asked by both the Pentagon and Congress as to what Honeywell's role will be in the future.''
Whitman also said Congress next week will be looking at Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney’s role as House Republican Conference chair, warning anything that distracts from leadership focusing on differences between GOP and Dems is ''problematic.''
''When we get back into Washington next week, it seems like there will be an effort to … have a debate about Liz Cheney as chairman of the conference,'' he said. ''We need to be solely focused on where we stand in relation to the policies and efforts being put forth by the Democrats. We can't lose focus on that.''
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