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Attorney General William Barr to Head Committee on Foreign Telecom Ownership

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William Barr
William Barr

President Trump has assigned U.S. Attorney General William Barr to chair a new committee that will handle national security reviews of foreign entities operating U.S. telecommunications systems.

Trump signed an executive order last week formalizing the “Team Telecom” committee that will provide advisory assistance to the Federal Communications Commission on law enforcement matters related to foreign telecom ownership, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Team Telecom, which includes the defense and homeland security secretaries, will review foreign ownership applications for U.S. telecom, submarine cable landing and other licenses under FCC. The committee will conduct assessments for 120 days and facilitate additional vetting procedures throughout a 90-day period upon identification of potential risks.

“This is a national security and public safety issue,” said Barr. “That’s why the federal government must be vigilant and ensure that a foreign adversary cannot undermine the networks our country depends on.”

Ajit Pai, commissioner of the FCC, announced his support for the Team Telecom initiative last week.

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