Yesterday, we were talking about the threat from Chinese counterfeit microchips that the Pentagon buys and puts into our planes and military equipment. The fact that the Chinese are deliberately selling us counterfeit chips is really not news to those in the know. It has been known for so many years that it has acquired a nickname: “hardware Trojans,” taken from the ancient Greek myth about how the Greeks defeated Troy with a Trojan horse, a wooden horse that secretly contained Greek troops.
The Chinese are most probably also now selling us counterfeit computer routers for our military equipment that can secretly rout our classified military information directly to the Chinese. There are so many ways computers can be jimmied by the Chinese: programmed to fail prematurely, tracking or surveillance for spying, or providing hackers with hidden “back doors.”
Last year, the United States bought 59,000 counterfeit microchips from China for use in our warships, planes, missile and antimissile systems, but fortunately we discovered in time that they were fake. How many did we not catch?
The Government Accountability Office reported that “counterfeit parts have the potential to cause a serious disruption to DoD supply chains, delay ongoing missions, and even affect the integrity of weapons systems.” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin admitted that counterfeit parts have “infiltrated” the defense supply chain including microprocessors for F-15 operational flight-control computers and the hardware of our Missile Defense System.
Can we assure U.S. safety by sending our inspectors to China for on-site inspections? The Chinese have already rejected that request.
Listen to the radio commentary here: