US secret computer runs on Chinese made parts

The US Defense Department allowed one of its  top secret supercomputer projects, which will be engaged in classified military research, happens to run on Chinese-made components.

According to the Washington Times, the  contract reached this summer between Huawei Technologies and the National Center for Computational Engineering at the University of Tennessee, will see the building of a supercomputer to simulate flight tests for next-generation U.S. military aircraft and spacecraft, and simulate submarine warfare for the Navy.

The deal requires software from US cybersecurity firm Symantec to be installed over devices made by Huawei which has close ties to China’s military.

Huawei and Symantec formed a joint venture in 2008, with Huawei owning more than half of the shares.

Four Republican senators and one member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence penned a stiff letter to the Pentagon and Energy Department ordering a review of the contract.

Some in Congress fear the Chinese telecommunications giant, poses a risk to national security with its deal to supply components to a supercomputer lab that is a defence contractor.

The letter by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Mary Schapiro, chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission was made public today.

It says that given Huawei’s close ties to the Chinese government and its military and intelligence sectors, its “history of alleged corrupt practices and infringement on intellectual-property rights, and concerns it may act as an agent for a foreign government”, Huawei is not an appropriate partner for advanced US.research centres.

Huawei’s vice president for external affairs, William Plummer, said the letter was just the most recent chapter in what has become a tiresome book promoting fear about China and slandering Huawei as a proxy.