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Huawei-sourced computer equipment removed from U.S. nuclear facility

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Network switches built by H3C/Huawei removed from Los Almos National Lab

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The Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico removed network switches made by the Chinese-American firm H3C after discovering them installed in its computer systems. A letter obtained by Reuters shows the equipment was replaced after an engineer alerted the lab to the risk of using devices manufactured by H3C, a joint venture of the Chinese firm Huawei and the American 3Com Corp, which was acquired by HP in 2010. A recent Congressional report found Huawei and ZTE to pose risk to national security based on their connections to Chinese military and intelligence services. For its part Huawei, denies any connection the military and says its products are completely safe to use.

The Los Alamos lab, where the world's first atomic weapon was designed and produced, still plays an active role maintaining America's nuclear arsenal. According to Reuters, "the letter suggests other H3C devices may still be installed. It states that the lab was investigating, 'replacing any remaining H3C network switch devices as quickly as possible,' including 'older switches' in 'both sensitive and unclassified networks as part of the normal life-cycle maintenance effort.' The letter adds that the lab was conducting a formal assessment to determine 'any potential risk associated with any H3C devices that may remain in service until replacements can be obtained.'"

For its part, Huawei sent a blistering response to Reuters stating flatly that the company believes it is being blackballed by the U.S. government. "William Plummer, Huawei's vice president of external affairs in Washington, told Reuters: 'There has never been a shred of substantive proof that Huawei gear is any less secure than that of our competitors, all of which rely on common global standards, supply chains, coding and manufacturing. Blackballing legitimate multinationals based on country of origin is reckless, both in terms of fostering a dangerously false sense of cyber-security and in threatening the free and fair global trading system that the U.S. has championed for the last 60-plus years.'"