Cisco tells Obama “hands off our routers”

Cisco Systems’ chief executive officer has dashed off a stiffly worded letter to President Barack Obama telling him to stop buggering up the company routers with NSA spyware.

John Chambers is incandescent with rage after discovering that the National Security Agency had intercepted Cisco equipment. In a letter dated May 15, John Chambers, chief executive officer and chairman of the networking equipment giant, warned of an erosion of confidence in the U.S. technology industry and called for new “standards of conduct” in how the NSA conducts its surveillance.

“We simply cannot operate this way, our customers trust us to be able to deliver to their doorsteps products that meet the highest standards of integrity and security,” Chambers said in the letter.

The Financial Times showed pictures of NSA staff opening boxes of Cisco gear and fixing routers so that they provided back-doors for spooks.

The allegations stem from early reporting from Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has written about a number of NSA documents that were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Chambers wrote to Obama and said that if these allegations were true they will undermine confidence in our industry and in the ability of technology companies to deliver products globally.

This is the second time that Cisco has complained. Writing in the company bog, on May 13, the company’s top lawyer, Mark Chandler, wrote that Cisco ought to be able to count on the government not to interfere with the lawful delivery of our products in the form in which we have manufactured them.