By F. Michael Maloof

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WASHINGTON – A U.S. Senate investigation has confirmed that more and more counterfeit electronics are being found in U.S. defense systems, and they don’t just come directly from China anymore; they also are coming from suppliers in Great Britain and Canada who redirect Chinese products.

“The defense industry’s reliance on unvetted independent distributors to supply electronic parts for critical military applications results in unacceptable risks to national security and the safety of U.S. military personnel,” the investigative report said.

It pointed out that the military depends on the performance and reliability of “small, incredibly sophisticated electronic components.”

Fighter pilots rely on night vision systems, enabled by transistors the size of paper clips, to identify targets.

“The failure of a single electronic part can leave a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine vulnerable at the worst possible time,” the report said. “Unfortunately, a flood of counterfeit electronic parts has made it a lot harder to prevent that from happening.”

The problem of faked or counterfeit products from China, as well as contaminated products, are issues on which WND has reported for years.

In fact, WND columnist Phyllis Schlafly wrote last year about fake computer chips that were being purchased by the U.S. military for use in U.S. warplanes, ships and communications networks.

She wrote that malfunctions traced to the problem were being reported as early as 2005. And targeted were computers aboard U.S. F-15 fighter jets at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

Find out just what the U.S. government is doing about China’s antics, in “Bowing to Beijing.”

Even at that point, officials said at least 15 percent of the spare and replacement chips the Pentagon was buying were counterfeit.

Officials in the National Intelligence Agency and the FBI both expressed concern then that such fakes could let the Chinese gain access to secure systems inside the United States, too.

Schlafly wrote at the time, “The U.S. bought 59,000 counterfeit microchips from China for use in our warships, planes, missile and antimissile systems, but fortunately were discovered they are fake in time. How many didn’t we catch?”

She said the Chinese had refused U.S. requests to send inspectors to China for on-site inspections of the products to be purchased

The new report said that Senate investigators uncovered “overwhelming evidence of large numbers of counterfeit parts” working their way into critical defense systems.

One avenue appeared to be from failures by defense contractors and the DOD to report counterfeit parts and gaps in DOD’s knowledge of the scope and impact of such parts on defense systems.

It also uncovered a defense supply chain that “relies on hundreds of unvetted independent distributors to supply electronic parts for some of our most sensitive defense systems,” the report said.

In its findings, Senate investigators found that some 70 percent of suspect parts could be traced directly to China.

Read G2 Bulletin reports on other topics, including Chinese human trafficking, a missile system in Europe, the spread of al-Qaida and, arms purchases by the Philippines.

One Senate investigator discovered that electronic components had been harvested from “e-waste” and sometimes were sold on public sidewalks and in public markets in China.

There also are whole factories in China with up to 15,000 people employed for the purpose of counterfeiting products.

China also appeared to be uncooperative in the Senate investigation.

“Rather than acknowledging the problem and moving aggressively to shut down counterfeiters, the Chinese government has tried to avoid scrutiny, including denying visas to (Senate investigators) to travel to mainland China as part of the (Senate’s) investigation.”

WND has not been alone in this reporting. DefenseTech also reported on the danger and wrote, “You don’t have to be a genius to see the safety nightmare presented by fake parts on incredibly complex systems like submarines, fighter jets and tiltrotors.”

On a similar and related issue, WND has led the way in reporting on contaminated or defective consumer products coming out of China.

During a one-month period, 17 of 28 products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission were Chinese imports.

Those included:

  • Hammock stands that are unstable and cause those who use them to fall to the ground in alarming numbers: About 3,000 imported by Algoma Net Co. of Wisconsin and sold in Kohl’s, Target and other retail outlets have been called back. There have been at least 28 reports of brackets cracking or breaking and consumers falling to the ground.
  • Toy castles that could choke your young child: Some 68,000 Shape Sorting Toy Castles produced by Infantino were recalled after at least four reports of children nearly choking on colored beads that slid off the toy and lodged in their throats.
  • Kids jewelry that could poison them: About 20,000 Essentials for Kids Jewelry Sets have been recalled by the CPSC because of toxic levels of lead in the paint – a frequent problem with products from China.
  • Magnet toys that could perforate your child’s intestines: About 800 Mag Stix Magnetic Building Sets were recalled by the CPSC, which found the plastic sticks can be swallowed or aspirated. The agency found one 8-year-old girl was hospitalized after swallowing loose magnets. Extensive surgery was required to remove the magnets and repair intestinal perforations.

Other products found to have problems were portable baby swings that entrap youngsters, swimming pool ladders that break, faulty baby carriers that result in babies falling out and getting bruised, Easy-Bake Ovens that trap children’s fingers in openings, resulting in burns, oscillating tower fans whose faulty wiring results in fires, exploding air pumps, oil-filled electric heaters that burn down homes, notebook computer batteries that burn up computers and circular saws with faulty blade guards.

Found to have been contaminated in recent years are Chinese products ranging from pet food to seafood intended for humans.

A WND study showed the Food and Drug Administration found products intended for human consumption tainted with pesticides, carcinogens, bacteria and banned drugs.

China was found to be raising most of its fish products – intended for the U.S. – in water contaminated with raw sewage and compensating by using dangerous drugs and chemicals, many of which are banned by the Food and Drug Administration.

Also, the deadly contaminant found in Chinese-made toothpaste – diethylene glycol – is a solvent used in antifreeze that killed 107 Americans when it was introduced in an elixir 70 years ago.

A resurgence in lead-poisoning cases in U.S. children was linked to Chinese imports – toys, makeup, glazed pottery and other products that contain significant amounts of lead and are being recalled by the CPSC on a regular basis.

Imports from China were recalled by the CPSC twice as often as products made everywhere else in the world, including the U.S., showed a WND study of 2007 government reports.

WND revealed how China was shipping to the U.S. honey tainted with a potentially life-threatening antibiotic as well as adulterating exports with sugar.

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