[ISN] Lenovo rejects security concerns over U.S. gov't contract

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Mar 29 03:35:16 EST 2006


By Sumner Lemon
MARCH 26, 2006

Lenovo Group Ltd. today rejected an assertion that the use of its PCs
by the U.S. State Department would be a threat to U.S. national
security and said it welcomed an inquiry into the matter.

Last week, members of the U.S. China Economic and Security Review
Commission reportedly voiced concerns that Lenovo's involvement in the
$13 million contract to upgrade the department's computers was a
threat to national security and would allow the Chinese government to
spy on the State Department.

The concerns follow an uproar in the U.S. over the management of port
operations in several major cities by a United Arab Emirates-owned
company. That company eventually agreed to give up those operations.

The State Department contract was awarded to CDW Government Inc., of
Vernon Hills, Illinois.

"Lenovo's participation in the CDW contract, its ownership, and the
sourcing of the units were all disclosed and discussed with the State
Department, and the national security implications of Lenovo's
ownership of IBM's PC division were exhaustively reviewed last year,"  
Lenovo said in an e-mail.

"While we think another exhaustive investigation is unnecessary, we
very much want to make sure the facts are understood," the company

Lenovo disputed the assertion that its computers would make the State
Department vulnerable to spying by the Chinese government. "Lenovo
products sold to U.S. government customers all have been certified for
security and integrity as required to qualify for government
procurement," it said.

CDW was awarded three contracts as part of the State Department's
Global Information Technology Modernization program.

The contracts include a deal to provide more than 15,000 Lenovo
ThinkCentre M51 desktops and large-format LCD (liquid crystal display)  
monitors worth around $11.7 million. The company will also supply
1,000 ThinkCentre M51 mini-tower PCs with support for Gigabit Ethernet
connections, high-performance removable hard drives, and LCD monitors
worth around $1.4 million.

These PCs are being delivered to the State Department over a period of
six months, with around 500 systems arriving each week, CDW said.

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