Lenovo rejects security concerns in US govt deal

Lenovo Group Ltd. on Monday 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 US$13 million contract to upgrade the department’s computers was a threat to national security and will 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 said.

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 (GITM) 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 US$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 US$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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