When the US State Department’s purchase of 16,000 desktop PCs from Chinese manufacturer Lenovo ran into a chorus of naysayers in the Congress, Shanghaiist chimed in.
Today, the New York Times, in its online edition, brought us an update: The result is hardly surprising, but nonetheless extremely disappointing.
It was a drama that reached a conclusion late last week, when the State Department, responding to fears that its security might be breached by a secretly placed device or hidden software, agreed to keep personal computers made by Lenovo of China off its networks that handle classified government messages and documents.
… the State Department was “initiating changes in its procurement processes in light of the changing ownership” of computer equipment suppliers. A spokesman said that “to allay any possible fears and any possible concerns, this is where we came out.”
Fears and concerns that exist only in the minds of a deluded few (or many?) on Capitol Hill, as most industry watchers agree that the placement of any malicious hardware/software is extremely unlikely. But, that didn’t stop House members from patting each other on the back.
Frank R. Wolf, the chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the budget appropriations for the State Department, Commerce Department and Justice Department said the security concerns about the State Department’s use of Lenovo computers had been brought to his attention by two members of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan group appointed by Congress. “They deserve the credit for this.”
Credit for what? For showing zero faith in the State Department’s IT security staff in detecting possible implanted “mal-ware”. Or was it for further cementing America’s reputation abroad as an overly paranoid, increasingly xenophobic and completely out of touch nation in disarray? If so, thanks guys! A job well done indeed!