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The Huawei logo, taken from the firm's Istanbul office. Photo: Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.S. has made its first threat to curtail sharing intelligence with an ally if that government ignores U.S. warnings about Huawei 5G equipment, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Why it matters: This is no small threat. The warning to Germany represents an escalation from previous American statements that raised the prospect of strained relationships and suggested the U.S. can't safely maintain a presence in countries where it believes infrastructure is not secure.

The big picture: Washington is waging an international campaign to sour the world on China's Huawei, based on four ongoing controversies. Huawei may be, according to various U.S critics, any or all of the following:

  • Complicit in Chinese espionage.
  • Subject to Chinese policy that could force it to be complicit in espionage in the future.
  • A beneficiary of theft of trade secrets.
  • A violator of trade sanctions.

And all this is also intertwined with President Trump's trade negotiations with Beijing.

The intrigue: If you set aside the potential espionage and other crimes, Huawei is an attractive supplier for 5G equipment. It offers price advantages in a thinly populated market for 5G equipment, and shunning the firm would harm Germany's economic relationship with China.

  • Germany has argued it can take other steps to protect its cellphone infrastructure even if it uses Huawei's equipment. On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back on the Trump administration's warning, saying Germany would define its own security standards, per Reuters.

What they're saying: Historically, presidents try not to play chicken with our allies.

  • "Public threats with regard to intelligence sharing are not the way to go to influence policy in Berlin or anywhere else," said Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA and current host of the Intelligence Matters podcast.
  • And the U.S. comes out ahead by sharing, noted Chris Painter, the State Department's former top diplomat for cybersecurity issues. "The U.S. shares sensitive information on threats and other issues for its own benefit — not just the benefit of the receiving country. Halting such sharing would undercut our ability to be aware of and collectively counter shared threats and would be shooting ourself in the foot."

Meanwhile, President Trump remains a wild card in the struggle to implement his own policies.

  • Though there is bipartisan support to hang Huawei out to dry and the State Department is pursuing global bans on the firm, Trump also tweeted in April he wanted the U.S. to "win through competition" in the 5G race.

Go deeper

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.