Senate effort to ban Russian software on US military systems would have far-reaching impact, sources say

This week’s efforts on Capitol Hill to ban the U.S. military from using software made by a Moscow-based company under FBI investigation received bipartisan support from top senators.

But those efforts would have an impact far beyond the Defense Department, according to congressional sources and others told of the proposal’s details.

“That’s the intent,” one congressional source said.

U.S. lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned about what one senator called “alarming” ties between the Russian government and the software company, Kaspersky Lab, whose products are embedded in countless American homes, businesses and government systems.

There is now “a consensus in Congress and among administration officials that Kaspersky Lab cannot be trusted to protect critical infrastructure,” Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat and key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Thursday after introducing an amendment to a Pentagon spending bill.

Kaspersky Lab has dismissed such concerns as “unfounded conspiracy theories,” insisting it poses no threat to customers and has no “bad” ties with the Russian government.

Nevertheless, as the Senate committee’s “executive summary” described it, Shaheen’s amendment “prohibits the [Defense Department] from using software platforms developed by Kaspersky Lab.”

An ABC News investigation earlier this year found that — largely through outside vendors — Kaspersky Lab software has been procured by some segments of the Defense Department.

Details of Shaheen’s amendment have not yet been released publicly, but ABC News was able to review a draft copy of the amendment.

No “element of the Department of Defense may use, whether directly or through work with or on behalf of another … [element] of the United States Government, any software platform developed, in whole or in part, by Kaspersky Lab or any entity of which Kaspersky Lab has a majority ownership,” the amendment’s preliminary language states.

It continued, “The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that any network connection between … the Department of Defense and a department or agency of the United States Government that is using or hosting on its networks a software platform [associated with Kaspersky Lab] is immediately severed.”

Shaheen crafted that language “to [tell] the rest of the federal government that if you’re going to connect to DOD, you can’t use this stuff either,” one congressional…

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