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To Catch a Thief: China’s Lenovo

It can no longer be denied that China is at war against the United States. In a recent speech to the Chinese Communist Party leadership, Xi Jinping made plain anyone confronting China will run into a “great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.” In 2019 he announced their new “Long March,” specifically aimed at their competition with the West, and the U.S. in particular. Nowhere is China’s war with the U.S. more widespread and effective than their continued theft of US technology and sensitive data, through such marquee names as Lenovo.

Having built their capabilities over the last 20 years, China’s theft of our data and technology has now become pervasive. In July of 2019 the U.S. Dept of Defense issued a report detailing the potential national security threat from purchases of “commercial off-the-shelf” (COTS) hardware and software from Chinese-owned or controlled companies. Heavily redacted, it very clearly states “…adversaries and malicious actors use [COTS] to introduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities into DoD weapons system and information technology networks that use COTS.” Plainly speaking, it means their technology is laden with spyware and other vulnerabilities.

The DoD report goes on to say that 70%-80% of all government purchases are commercial, off-the-shelf technology, specifically naming Lenovo as the dominant player in that space. The report recommends we test existing technology currently in use throughout the military and the federal government to determine their cybersecurity vulnerability. In addition, it recommends we develop a robust testing program to better identify existing and future vulnerabilities. The final recommendation is that the federal government prohibit the purchase and use of any new technology from Lenovo and a list of other companies until we have a more secure process in place to protect our secrets from China.

A similar analysis needs to be done at the state-government level. The list of states still buying and using products from Lenovo and others is a bi-partisan one. State procurement officials continue to purchase and use Lenovo and other at-risk technology from Chinese-owned or controlled companies. The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) is also a responsible party. They have numerous master contracts with Lenovo, who was made a member of NAPSO’s ValuePoint program that endorses and facilitates the purchase of equipment and technology. It is inconceivable that no one is looking into state governments use of COTS like the DoD report did at the federal level.

The signs of China’s ascent and ambitions for global hegemony are unmistakable. With majority or controlling interest in hundreds of US firms, including household names like IBM (owned by Lenovo), Black Rock Financial, AMC Entertainment and Smithfield Foods, China is already deeply penetrated into our economy and culture. China now has the largest navy in the world, and is larger than India, Britain, Germany, and Spain combined. They have quietly surpassed the United States.

The American Center for Education and Knowledge supports the recommendations from the DoD report and strongly recommends that all governors and NAPSO immediately enact measures consistent with the DoD report. All technology currently in use from Lenovo and all similar companies needs to be examined for spyware and other vulnerabilities. Likewise, all potential new purchases should be suspended until an effective security process is put in place. That should be the very first thing we do.

The first step to catch a thief is to educate and alert the public and our elected leaders to the threat coming from Lenovo and other companies controlled directly or indirectly by China. It is imperative they take action to protect our secret and sensitive information. Like everyone else, the governors in whose states this is still going undetected deserve the benefit of the doubt, but only for so long. China wants to be the one global superpower and is playing a very serious and real game against the United States with very real and long-lasting consequences. The only question is, are we?

See the article at Real Clear Policy

Robert B. Chernin

Robert B. Chernin

Robert is a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser, and former radio talk show host. He studied political science at McGill University in Montreal and has spent over 25 years deeply involved in civic affairs at all levels. Robert has consulted on a variety of federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential level. He served in leadership roles in the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush as well as McCain for President. He led Florida’s Victory 2004’s national Jewish outreach operations as Executive Director. In addition, he served on the President’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition.