Schumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars

Schumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling for a federal probe into a plan for a Chinese government-owned corporation to design new New York subway train cars. 

Schumer told the Associated Press in a statement Sunday that he requested that the Commerce Department conduct a “top-to-bottom review” after train-manufacturer CRRC won a contest to design the cars. 

CRRC has previously been given contracts in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia, according to the AP. 

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Government officials and security experts have reportedly warned that allowing a Chinese-state company to design U.S. transit systems could leave it vulnerable to cyberattacks and cyberespionage and sabotage.

Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) spokesman Max Young told the AP that it has "robust" safety standards.  

“The MTA has robust, multilayered and vigorously enforced safety and security standards, but we support efforts of government agencies to bolster that work,” he said. 

CRRC said it would invest $50 million to develop the train cars after it won the bid.

A spokesman for CRRC Sifang America, the company’s Chicago subsidiary, told the AP that most of the train parts it plans to use are made by American companies. 

Spokesman Dave Smolensky told The Hill in a statement that the company "fully supports Senator Schumer’s efforts to ensure the nation’s transit systems meet the highest cybersecurity standards and we are eager to address any concerns the Senator may have regarding our U.S. operations."

"A review will demonstrate to lawmakers there are no examples of a passenger railcar manufacturer, including CRRC, installing any type of malicious software or exposing a transit system to any type of cyberespionage," he added. 

Smolensky said that it is “not possible” for CRRC to put malware into the cars. 

The Hill has reached out to Schumer's office for additional comment. 

Relations between the U.S. and China have become strained in recent weeks after the countries failed to reach an a trade agreement and instead pledged to raise tariffs on each other in an escalating trade war.

—Updated at 6:08 p.m.