Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rick Perry Welcomes Huawei To Texas - Security Be Damned

This is what happens when a politician's knowledge about nation state cyber capabilities and operations is only as deep as a headline or a sound bite. Governor and Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Perry was courted by Huawei for months, up to and including a trip to China where he dined with Huawei's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei. 

Yesterday's Washington Post article described the history of Huawei in Texas, dating back to 2001. In June, 2010 the State of Texas sent Perry and a delegation to the Shanghai Expo to court Huawei, ultimately resulting in Perry's announcement in October that Huawei would base its U.S. headquarters in Plano bringing hundreds of jobs and tax dollars. The fact that Huawei has been viewed as a national security threat by the U.S. government for many years apparently mean't nothing to Perry or the State of Texas legislature. There's an almost willful ignorance on the part of Perry's campaign to this fact. According to the WaPo article, Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said that “if there are national security issues surrounding this company, they should be fully looked at.” 

Oh, really? "If" there are issues? If Perry is this ignorant about China in general and Huawei in particular, he has no business running for the office of President of the United States. 

And if the State of Texas has a Chief Information Officer*, here's a bit of free advice. If you're doing business with China, China is in your network. If Governor Perry and his staff took laptops with them to the Shanghai Expo and re-connected to their office networks when they returned, you've got a compromised network. 

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* The State of Texas CIO appears to be Karen W. Robinson and, as of July 25, 2011, she appears to be looking for a Chief Information Security Officer. The job posting can be read here

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