Top officials warn of serious threat posed by Chinese surveillance equipment
Democrat Joe Biden’s administration is ignoring warnings from top officials of a major national security threat by buying military surveillance drones from Communist China.
The government is purchasing the Chinese drones to be used by U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service.
The move comes despite repeated warnings from the U.S. military that the equipment poses a serious threat to America’s national security.
“The Secret Service bought eight DJI drones on July 26, according to procurement records obtained by the industry publication IPVM,” Axios reports.
“That was three days after the Defense Department released a statement saying DJI products ‘pose potential threats to national security.’”
Axios cites records that reportedly show the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also bought 19 drones made by the same Chinese Communist Party-linked company.
The U.S. military repeatedly warned against using the drones during the Trump administration and continued to warn against using them during the Biden era.
“The Department of Defense (DOD) position is that systems produced by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) pose potential threats to national security,” the Pentagon said over the summer.
“Existing DOD policy and practices associated with the use of these systems by U.S. government entities and forces working with U.S. military services remain unchanged contrary to any written reports not approved for release by the DOD.”
“In 2018, DOD issued a ban on the purchase and use of all commercial off-the-shelf drones, regardless of manufacturer, due to cybersecurity concerns,” the statement later added.
“The following year, Congress passed legislation specifically banning the purchase and use of drones and components manufactured in China.
“DOD complies with Section 848 of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and additional guidance provided by Executive Order 13981.”
The Department of Homeland Security warned in 2017 that it had “moderate confidence that Chinese-based company DJI Science and Technology is providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.”
DHS further warned it has:
- “…high confidence [DJI] is selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data.”
- “…high confidence a foreign government with access to this information could easily coordinate physical or cyber attacks against critical sites.”
- “…high confidence that outside of DJI’s goal to attain law enforcement customers, DJI’s criteria for selecting accounts to target appears to focus on the account holder’s ability to disrupt critical infrastructure. As a result, DJI has amassed customers such as American Water, Union Pacific, and American Electric Power, some of the biggest utility and transportation companies in the United States.”
- “…high confidence the critical infrastructure and law enforcement entities using DJI systems are collecting sensitive intelligence that the Chinese government could use to conduct physical or cyber attacks against the United States and its population. Alternatively, China could provide DJI information to terrorist organizations, hostile non-state entities, or state-sponsored groups to coordinate attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure. The UAS capture close-up imagery and GPS information on water systems, rail systems, hazardous material storage systems, first responders’ activity, and construction of highways, bridges, and rails.”
The news comes after U.S. critical infrastructure has been repeatedly targeted in cyberattacks by Russian hackers this year.
Democrat Biden responded by handing Russian President Vladimir Putin a list of America’s critical infrastructure and asking him not to attack them.
Rebeccah Heinrichs, the Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, responded to Biden’s move by noting: “This is essentially inviting Putin to attack literally everything else.”