Mounting calls for Bloomberg to retract it’s spy chip story


Bloomberg alleged that Apple, Amazon & a bunch of other tech firms servers had tiny Chinese spy chips embedded in them. The Washington Post calls for evidence or retraction.

At the time Apple (and the other tech firms) strongly disputed the claims and launched investigations which found no evidence support them.

The UK’s GCHQ, the UK security agency, joined the tech firms in refuting the claims and states it has no reason to doubt the detailed assessments of Apple & Amazon.

Multiple US officials also stated they had seen no evidence to support the claims.

Apple’s CEO in an interview with Buzzfeed has strongly denied the claims.

This did not happen. There’s no truth to this.

I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning, I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell who was then our general counsel. We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions. … Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed and each time we investigated we found nothing.

Tim Cook – Buzzfeed

Amazon Web Services CEO – Andy Jassy

Super Micro, the company who allegedly manufactured the affected servers, stock has collapsed as a result of the story. They released the following statement.

Super Micro is committed to making world-class servers and storage products. Bloomberg’s recent story has created unwarranted confusion and concern for our customers, and has caused our customers, and us, harm. Bloomberg should act responsibility and retract its unsupported allegations that malicious hardware components were implanted on our motherboards during the manufacturing process.

The allegations imply there are a large number of affected motherboards. Bloomberg has not produced a single affected motherboard, we have seen no malicious hardware components in our products, no government agency has contacted us about malicious hardware components, and no customer has reported finding any malicious hardware components either.

Super Micro

The Washington Post has released a lengthy article on the topic calling for Bloomberg to provide evidence or tract the article.

Sources tell the Erik Wemple Blog that the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Post have each sunk resources into confirming the story, only to come up empty-handed. […]

The best journalism lends itself to reverse engineering. Though no news organization may ever match the recent New York Times investigation of Trump family finances, for instance, the newspaper published documents, cited sources and described entities with a public footprint. “Fear,” the recent book on the dysfunction of the Trump White House, starts with the story of a top official removing a trade document from the president’s desk, an account supported by an image of the purloined paper.

Bloomberg, on the other hand, gives readers virtually no road map for reproducing its scoop, which helps to explain why competitors have whiffed in their efforts to corroborate it. The relentlessness of the denials and doubts from companies and government officials obligate Bloomberg to add the sort of proof that will make believers of its skeptics. Assign more reporters to the story, re-interview sources, ask for photos and emails. Should it fail in this effort, it’ll need to retract the entire thing.

Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple

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