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State Senator urges Montana to exclude Chinese technology

Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) – State Senator Ken Bogner of Miles City is urging Montana’s congressional delegation to remove Chinese Communist Party-affiliated telecommunications equipment from the state’s infrastructure, especially sensitive areas of the state.

I spoke to Bogner about the effort involved and why it is important to remove this equipment as quickly as possible.

Senator Bogner is concerned that Chinese technology is embedded in sensitive Montana systems

“Last session, I passed legislation that prohibits foreign adversaries like China from purchasing our critical infrastructure and land,” Bogner began. “I continue to look at how we can strengthen this law here in Montana and at the federal level.”

These efforts also include filtering the sensitive technology of these devices out of the government-supported sector.

“As I researched, I realized that Congress was not keeping what it promised in its Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. In that act, it funded a 'rip-and-replace' policy to remove all components tied to the Chinese Communist Party that were built into our telecommunications services across the country.”

Bogner: The federal government has forgotten to protect Montana

Bogner said the federal government has so far neglected the sensitive infrastructure here in Montana.

“They have funded the big telecommunications companies, but they have not funded the small rural telecommunications companies that cover the rural areas in places like Montana and Wyoming where many of our military bases are located. So I sent a letter to our congressional delegation here in Montana and asked them to fully fund this program and complete the demolition and replacement here in Montana.”

Bogner remembered the Chinese spy balloon over Montana

Since the bill's passage, we've all remembered the Chinese spy balloon that hovered over Malmstrom Air Force Base, and Bogner insists the federal government finish its job and protect Montana's sensitive infrastructure.

“I mean, it's been five years since it was passed, and every day we learn more and more details about places like China trying to spy on us,” he said. “If we can get the majority of our congressional delegation to support this, I would like to see the funding provided as soon as possible to get the infrastructure up to where the bill should have been when it was passed in 2019.”

In a letter to Senator Steve Daines and Representatives Zinke and Rosendale, Bogner wrote: “I urge you to protect the security of the United States and Montana by working to remove and replace Chinese Communist Party telecommunications equipment from Montana's telephone and internet infrastructure.”

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