WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday that Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp "cannot be trusted" and labeled them a security threat as he backed a proposal to bar U.S. rural wireless carriers from tapping an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment or services from them.
The Federal Communications Commission will vote on Nov. 22 on the plan and is proposing requiring those carriers to remove and replace equipment from the companies. Barr said in a letter to the FCC that "their own track record, as well as the practices of the Chinese government, demonstrate that Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted." He added that "we should not signal that Huawei and ZTE are anything other than a threat to our collective security, for that is exactly what they, through their actions, have shown themselves to be."
Huawei and ZTE did not immediately comment. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)