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Biden ignored Pentagon concerns about buying Chinese drones

The Biden administration ignored a clear warning from the Pentagon about “cybersecurity concerns” about Chinese-made drones and drone parts, pushing the purchase of such materials from a top Chinese company that the Trump administration called national security. Blacklisted for reasons of

A review of internal government procurement documents by the Washington Times found that Secret Service Following the Pentagon’s warning in July, eight commercial surveillance drones manufactured by Chinese drone maker Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) went ahead.

Of Secret Service Declined to comment on the purchase, but the deal has sparked scrutiny by Republican lawmakers as to how far the agency has lifted restrictions. US Government Use the equipment of some Chinese companies – even if the goods are available for purchase by US citizens through e-commerce companies. Amazon..

It has also caused concern among government watchdogs. Buying Blacklist Technology from China This is a “potential weak point” for any federal government agency. Donald May, Head of operations at video surveillance research company IPVM, which obtained government procurement documents. Secret Service Paid ، 12,792. DJI Drones on July 26

The transaction, approved by the Department of Homeland Security, came three days after the Pentagon issued a statement specifically warning that DJI drones “pose potential threats to national security.” “And the US military has banned the purchase and use of such materials. 2018

“The fact that the DOD was coming in in July to confirm that they posed a threat to national security, I think it was telling a lot, that’s why I gave it enough. Dangerous that the United States Secret Service He had bought several drones from DJI. Wine Said in an interview on Tuesday.

When contacted by the Times on Tuesday, Secret Service Refused to comment on how to use it. DJI Why didn’t the drone pay attention to the Department of Defense’s warning about the Chinese company? Agency spokesman Justin M. Whelan said in an emailed statement that “in order to maintain operational security, the United States Secret Service Does not discuss operational means and methods.

Of Secret Service Over the past year, blacklisted Chinese surveillance drones have not been left alone. Federal procurement documents show that the FBI requested DJI drones at the time. Secret Service Purchased it.

The bureau initially circulated a justification document in April stating that its evidence response team wanted to acquire 19 DJI drones “to train new remote pilots”. FBI officials later sent quotations or RFQ requests to DJI brand retailers to purchase goods.

The bureau then made a purchase of 59,671. Adorama Inc., Which sells DJI products via the Internet, according to a purchase order published on the federal government’s website. The order, which predicted a Pentagon warning about the DJ for about a week, does not specifically indicate what the FBI bought.

An FBI official told the Times on Tuesday on condition of anonymity that the bureau “cannot comment on specific operational equipment purchased by the FBI, but can assure the public that the FBI, As a matter of course, it takes all necessary steps to ensure security and safety of its operation. ”

Speculation about why agencies have purchased DJI products Biden Despite the Trump administration’s sanctions and sanctions, Axis first reported the purchase in September. DJI’s Shenzhen, ChinaThe global market for commercial drones is dominated by parents, with an estimated 70% of the market.

Is engaged in a fierce trade war with ChinaThe Trump administration competed with individual Chinese companies, which the Biden administration did not always maintain. The Justice Department recently filed a lawsuit against a senior executive at technology giant Huawei, who had been detained in Canada for years over a US extradition order. Mr Trump’s proposal to force the popular Chinese app TickTalk to close or sell US operations Biden.

Concerns of Congress.

The revelations prompted Republican Jim Banks, Attorney General Merck B. Garland to write questions about it. Secret Service And the FBI’s actions, according to a Washington Free Beacon report. Bacon noted that Mr. Banks was pushing for a ban. US Government Use of DJI drones for more than a year.

In July 2020, after Congressman wrote a letter to then-Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department published a policy on funding unmanned aircraft systems. The October 2020 policy effectively prevents the department from buying drones from foreign companies that pose a threat to the United States.

Other prominent Republicans have cited reports of drone purchases as evidence. Biden Is weak China. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told Axios last month that “there is absolutely no excuse for any government agency to use DJI drones.”

John Ratcliffe, a former director of national intelligence who served in the Trump administration, challenged. Biden Management attitude China Focuses on Fox News and drone purchases.

Biden administration, through the FBI and Secret Service, Purchased from DJI, a company that was flagged by the Trump administration in 2017. “The Department of Homeland Security has stated that this particular company is using its drones to provide information to the Chinese Communist Party about important US infrastructure. And there was moderate confidence that this is happening, which is why That our administration took them all out and basically put forward a policy where we will not use this Chinese technology.

In fact, in 2017, the Department of Homeland Security estimated with “moderate confidence” that DJI was providing the US government with critical US infrastructure and law enforcement data. Meanwhile, in December 2020, the Trump administration added the DJI to the Commerce Department’s “list of entities,” which generally prevents Americans from investing in foreign businesses that are considered national security threats. And imposes sanctions on certain foreign individuals and companies.

After Mr. Biden Taking office this year, White House officials say the Trump administration is increasing the scope of sanctions – not reducing them. But in June, the Federal Register indicated that the administration had an “amendment.”[ied]”Restrictions on DJI, although the specific nature of the amendment was not specified.

The federal government has pursued DJI products, despite general concerns about hack and ransomware attacks that have targeted key US infrastructure.

The Department of Defense warned in July that its position on the DJI had not changed. The Department of Defense’s (DOD) position is that systems developed by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) pose potential threats to national security. “Existing DODs are concerned with the use of these systems through policy and procedures. US Government Institutions and forces do not change with the services of the U.S. military, unlike any written report that is not approved for release by the DOD.

Federal Purchase Documents After the Department of Defense issued a warning Secret Service Bought DJI. Mayok. 2 Pro and DJI Phantom 4 Pro drones. Drones are not aliens: both. Mayok. And can be purchased on the Phantom system. Amazon.com For $ 1,000 and $ 2,500, respectively, and are small enough to carry in a suitcase.

GSA Advantage, the federal government’s “online shopping supermarket” includes a listing of DJI drones from the contractor, although it shows the country of origin as Mexico, not China.

Some sources claim that US agencies are gaining ground. DJI Drones analyze them and learn their skills. It is not uncommon for law enforcement and security agencies to acquire technology to support threats for testing and training purposes, a law enforcement official told the Times on condition of anonymity.

Mr. Wine On Tuesday, he expressed skepticism that the federal government would publicize the purchase of the technology, which is intended to test countermeasures, given information that opponents of the United States could learn from publicly available purchase documents.

“If you look at the original application document, you can see that they make a list of justifications, and I think it’s very clear that it’s not for research purposes or countermeasures.” They Said.

If the FBI and Secret Service Blacklisted Chinese drones were purchased for retaliation. Wine He said he had made America’s opponents well aware of what technology was now part of their weapons.

“If you understand cybersecurity and assume that you are an unscrupulous actor who has the potential to exploit these products, you can be assured that if they want to exploit it and take advantage of it. Secret ServiceAbility to work, they will try to do it, ” They Said.

Links to China

DJI Spokesman Adam Lesberg said DJI drones and products are designed to protect customer data and consumers do not need to share data with third parties such as foreign governments.

“Our cybersecurity protocols are designed to keep private data in the hands of our users and away from the Internet, and have been repeatedly endorsed by both. US Government Testers and independent cybersecurity experts, “Mr Lesberg said in a statement. “We don’t know why some people insist on making false claims, but they have never presented solid evidence to support their views, and the professionals who use drones think their data is safe. And DJI products are the most reliable, powerful and effective drones for important jobs.

But an analysis of a DJI product published in March 2020 by River Loop Security, a cybersecurity firm, called the DJI memo and the video editing app made “many disturbing discoveries.” Of these, the product depends on analytical tools. Another Chinese companyMobTech, “which openly cooperates with the Chinese government.”

Much of DJI Memo’s data, the firm reports in its analysis, is: “Mobile tech is sent without encryption, making it easy for any entity to see the user’s network traffic. For example, the Chinese government, the Golden Shield Project (aka the Great Firewall of). China), Can block all this data. Based on what we can see, the user is not notified and is unable to stop the transmission of this data.

Meanwhile, Mr. Banks’ letter to the Attorney General expressed concern that DJI drones could be used to spy on Mr. Biden. In June 2020, CNN reporter Jim Acosta spotted a drone resembling a DJI drone flying over the Eisenhower Executive Office building near the White House, according to Drone XL, a blog covering drone technology.

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