I’ve been concerned about the potential for this kind of thing for years. (Not that I have evidence of my prescient genius in writing. You’ll just have to take my word for it.)
Now we have a big news story about China-made parts in our high-tech, multi-million-dollar military aircraft and missile & antimissile systems being “fake” or “counterfeit”. My question is, “Why the aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks would we entrust the provision of such components — critical to our national security — to a nation like China?!” (Technically, our defense contractors purchased the parts from Chinese suppliers.) True, it’s not quite the enemy that Iran or North Korea is. But, despite our playing nice-nice for mutual trade benefits and so they’ll keep lending us money, China is, ultimately, NOT our friend.
Despite its recent, limited experimentation with capitalism, the People’s Republic of China is a communist state. The leaders are communist. Their human rights violations are atrocious. They manipulate their currency to influence economic outcomes. Their purchase of U.S. debt is definitely a two-edged sword. More to the point, 1) we know they have stolen our high-tech secrets and committed cyber-warfare against us, and 2) their lackluster safety-testing results in everything from dangerous toys to contaminated food. Yet, somehow, we think we can trust them to make reliable parts for our military craft?! What, are we idiots?!!!
[Note: Apparently, this goes back to a cost-reduction effort approved by the Clinton administration. Thanks a lot, Bill.]
Don’t know what I’m talking about? As reported by F. Michael Maloof at World Net Daily (WND):
“Fake electronic components from China have been discovered in thermal weapons sights delivered to the U.S. Army on mission computers for the Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missiles and on military aircraft, including several models of helicopters and the P-8A-Poseidon, according to federal investigators….
The Senate unit, whose investigators were denied access to Chinese firms by Chinese authorities, said that the evidence ‘consistently point(s) to China as the epicenter of the global trade in counterfeits.'”
Failures due to the “fake” components on a Navy SH-60B anti-sub helicopter, for example, could “compromise the pilot’s ability to avoid hazards and identify targets at night” and/or prevent the firing of hellfire missiles during surface warfare missions. Bad parts were also found in two types of military cargo planes (C-130J and C-27J) — specifically, in the display units which give their pilots info “on aircraft performance, engine status, fuel use, location and warning messages.”
“‘Failure of the memory chip could cause a display unit to show a degraded image, lose data, or even go blank,’ the Senate report said…. ‘When suspect counterfeit parts are identified, they must be reported. Failing to do so allows suspect suppliers to operate with impunity and puts everyone at risk.'”
In other words, malfunctions due to these suspect, made-in-China parts can compromise important systems and threaten the lives not just of the aircraft’s crew & passengers but of untold others who depend on accurate reconnaissance data for safe & successful missions. It also costs lots of money to replace the bad parts. (E.g., nearly $2.78 million just for the THAAD missile computer systems memory chip fixes.) So much for saving a few bucks by buying cheap Chinese products….
Of course, it is possible that such “counterfeits” are from a few mischievous companies and the Chinese government has no involvement. But, given the type of equipment in question, I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s too tempting for an ideological enemy, especially a virtual superpower, to not take advantage of such an opportunity. I’m just waiting for the Chinese (or someone else) to introduce a time-delayed virus or trojan in the computer components they sell us, which also go into ships and communication networks. They could gather intelligence (as they already have), shut down power, delete or otherwise sabotage systems/applications. They could simply ground or destroy our entire air forces and missile defense — maybe more, depending on where else China-made parts are being used. (Hope they’re not reading this.)
“Officials in the National Intelligence Agency and the FBI expressed concern then that the fakes could let the Chinese gain access to secure systems inside the United States.”
No kidding! Grrrrrrrrr!!!! Can you tell I’m a little worked up about this?