In the midst of the Justice Department’s prosecution of Huawei Technologies for violating sanctions against Iran, the Chinese company is teaming up with a new lobbyist to help minimize the fallout: Samir Jain.
Jain works for the lobbying firm Jones Day, but before that he served as director of cybersecurity policy for President Obama’s National Security Council.
Embattled Chinese telco Huawei has hired a new lobbyist: Jones Day’s Samir Jain, formerly the Obama National Security Council’s director of cybersecurity policy https://t.co/1fSPmF0BgF pic.twitter.com/SWqSnuzY67
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) April 8, 2019
“Embattled Chinese telco Huawei has hired a new lobbyist: Jones Day’s Samir Jain, formally the Obama National Security Council’s director of cybersecurity policy,” the Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay posted to Twitter, along with a pic of Jain’s lobbying registration.
According to Jain’s Jones Day biography, the veteran cybersecurity and communications expert has a lot of connections at the Department of Justice.
Prior to joining Jones Day in 2017, Samir was senior director for cybersecurity policy for the National Security Council at The White House. He led the team responsible for cyber incident responses, chaired the interagency body that reviewed proposed cyber operations, directed evaluation of legislative proposals concerning reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and regularly worked with international cyber counterparts, including leading an interagency delegation to India and coordinating the campaign to gain acceptance of U.S.-proposed international cyber norms.
Samir also served as associate deputy attorney general at the DOJ, where his responsibilities included overseeing the development of proposals to modernize the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other cybercrime laws, supervising evaluation of telecommunications license applications for significant national security risks, and representing the DOJ in White House cybersecurity meetings and international negotiations, such as China’s agreement not to engage in cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for commercial gain.
Jain’s hire is only the most recent in a much broader influence campaign involving litigation, lobbying and public relations work involving business partners, media outlets, “influencers,” and “key opinion leaders,” Open Secrets reports.
The company is working with two different PR firms to reshape its image as the U.S. lobbies its allies to shun Huawei from developing the world’s 5G network, warning the company is required by Chinese law to divulge information to the communist government upon demand.
“The Department of Justice in January indicted Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou on charges of attempting to steal trade secrets, obstructing justice, committing wire fraud and violating economic sanctions on Iran” through two suspected shell companies, Open Secrets reports.
As part of that case, federal investigators obtained a warrant for surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, implying the government has probable cause the company, its employees, or someone connected to Huawei is a “foreign power” or “agent of a foreign power,” according to Lawfare, a legal blog.
Huawei has denied it is connected to the Chinese government, promised not to share compromising data, and pleaded not guilty to the 13-count federal indictment, Reuters reports.
The next court date in that case is set for June.
In the meantime, Huawei is suing the U.S. government in a U.S. District Court in Texas, arguing a section of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that bans the company’s products is unconstitutional.
“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort,” Guo Ping, Huawei Rotating Chairman said in a statement announcing the lawsuit last month.
“This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming U.S. consumers. We look forward to the court’s verdict, and trust that it will benefit both Huawei and the American people.”