Pompeo: TikTok a national security threat

August 2, 2020 GMT

Chinese controlled social media apps like TikTok are feeding information directly to the Chinese Communist Party and their national security apparatus, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday on Fox News Channel.

The raw data being funneled to the Chinese government includes facial recognition patterns, information about their homes, their phone numbers, their friends and other people they may be connected to, he told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo.

“These are true national security issues,” Mr. Pompeo said. “For a long time, the United States just said, ’Goodness, if we’re having fun with it - or if a company can make money off of it - we’re going to permit it to happen.”

While TikTok is hugely popular around the world, President Trump will take action against it and other Chinese-controlled apps “in the coming days,” Mr. Pompeo said.

“When he makes his decision, we’ll make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people,” he said. “We’re closing in on a solution and I think you’ll see the president’s announcement shortly.”

Mr. Pompeo also said too many American companies have “deep connectivity” to a region in China controlled by a powerful paramilitary organization accused of carrying out cultural and demographic genoicide against ethnic minorities.

On Friday, the U.S. leveled sanctions against the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and two of its officials for their connection to human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Mr. Pompeo said the organization is suspected of conducting forced sterilizations and forced abortions, among other human rights violations, on the Uyghur minorities in Xinjiang.

“There are terrible, terrible things that are taking place there,” he said Sunday. “They’ve got to change their behavior.”

The group also is heavily involved in the international cotton trade, which means it has links to western and U.S. companies, he said.

“We’ve been very clear. We told U.S. businesses to take a real deep look into their supply chains,” he said. “I don’t think companies - some brand names here in America - want to be connected to what’s taking place there.”

Mr. Pompeo said he believes U.S. businesses, such as the NBA, are beginning to become more aware that their economic partners in the Chinese Communist Party are involved in nefarious activities.

“I think they’re becoming more awakened to the challenges this presents to their brand, to the company, to their supply chain,” he said. “I think they’re starting to see that.”