Former US national security officials claim antitrust could hurt US in China tech race

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Twelve former top US national security officials are urging Congress to hit pause on a package of antitrust bills in order to consider how breaking up tech companies could harm the US in its competition with China. In its quest to "undermine US influence" and become "the world's leading innovator," the Chinese government employs policies designed to "create and support 'national champion' technology companies," the former officials wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Antitrust legislation to break up US tech giants — without targeting Chinese companies like Huawei, Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba — could impede innovation that is "critical to maintaining America’s technological edge," they argue. The former officials praise the US Innovation and Competition Act — a sweeping, $200 billion China-focused package overwhelmingly passed by the Senate in June — but call on Congress to study the national security implications of the House antitrust proposals before moving forward. Since leaving public service, several of the letter's signatories have joined the boards of organizations that receive funding or do work for tech firms like Google and Amazon. "These arguments are the same arguments that Facebook and Google have been making for a very long time in an effort to avoid regulation," said Rep David Cicilline (D-RI), the chair of House Judiciary's Antitrust Subcommittee, about the letter. "And I think actually that the evidence is just the opposite." 

Ex-intel officials claim antitrust could hurt US in China tech race