The US intelligence community’s alarm at Chinese leadership in 5G mobile broadband has less to do with a threat of Chinese eavesdropping than with the likelihood that electronic eavesdropping will become next to impossible, thanks to quantum cryptography. I have had a number of conversations on the topic with US as well as Chinese sources, but this conclusion appears obvious from public sources.
America’s intelligence community spends nearly $80 billion a year, including $57 billion for the National Intelligence Program and $20 billion for the Military Intelligence Program. Signals intelligence (SIGINT), mainly electronic eavesdropping, takes up the lion’s share of the budget. Among other things the National Security Agencyrecorded more than half a billion calls and text messages of Americans in 2017. In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Security Agency admitted — for the second time — that it improperly eavesdropped on Americans. The spooks’ ability to tap the conversations of prospective terrorists, foreign leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel and pretty well anyone it wants is a source of enormous power as well as justification for continued funding.