Report: U.S. Weapons Rife With Counterfeit Chinese Electronics

Two U.S. lawmakers blasted China today for the allowing counterfeit electronics to infiltrate the Pentagon’s supply chain, after a Senate Armed Services Committee Report found at least 1,800 cases of bogus parts in U.S. weapons. From The Associated Press:

One day before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the issue, Sens. Carl Levin, a Democrat, and John McCain, a Republican, offered details of the panel’s ongoing investigation and described a deceptive process in which parts are burned off old circuit boards, washed in rivers, dried on streets and sanded down to remove identifying marks. The salvaged parts, which can look brand new, are sold on the Internet or openly in the markets.

Reviewing more than 100,000 pages of Defense Department documents and material from more than 70 companies, the panel’s investigators found about 1,800 cases of suspect counterfeit electronics being sold to the Pentagon. The total number of parts in these cases topped 1 million.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman told the Washington Post that the issue of investigating counterfeit parts was a matter of “China’s judicial sovereignty,” while Levin claimed that China’s rulers could put an end to the counterfeiting “if they want to stop it.” McCain said the issue needs to be addressed urgently to avoid posing real dangers to U.S. troops. From Reuters:

“We can’t tolerate the risk of a ballistic missile interceptor failing to hit its target, a helicopter pilot unable to fire his missiles, or any other mission failure because of a counterfeit part,” he said.

McCain said the issue was part of a larger challenge in U.S.-China relations and demonstrated that China was “falling short in certain important areas of its obligations as a responsible stakeholder in the international system.”.

Last week, a U.S. intelligence report concluded that China was the most active and persistent country using cyber espionage to steal U.S. trade and technology secrets.

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