U.S. Reviewing National-Security Vetting for Wireless, TV Deals

The Obama administration is assessing how it reviews the national-security impacts of wireless and broadcast deals involving foreign ownership, the Federal Communications Commission chief said.

“There is an ongoing review of the activities of Team Telecom that is being led inside the administration,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, said at a news conference in Washington Thursday.

Team Telecom is an inter-agency group within the U.S. government that advises the FCC on mergers and acquisitions involving foreign ownership exceeding 25 percent, according to an FCC listing of the agency’s homeland security responsibilities.

Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in a statement Thursday cited the “opaque and often very lengthy Team Telecom review process for foreign ownership, which in too many instances has devolved into a black hole of uncertainty.”

There should be deadlines for Team Telecom’s decisions, O’Rielly said.

Wheeler said he was “hopeful that there’s going to be a short-term resolution of that, and we’ll see what that is.” He didn’t provide details.

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