Congress Members Question Juniper
Networks Over Secret Government Backdoors
June 11, 2020
U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Mike
Lee, R-Utah, Cory Booker, D-N.J. and 13 members of the U.S. House asked
Juniper Networks to explain how an NSA-designed algorithm, which leading
cybersecurity experts believe contains an encryption backdoor, appeared
in its products, and how the key to this backdoor was later changed by
Juniper first revealed a security breach in late 2015 in which
unauthorized code was added to its products. Cybersecurity experts
subsequently determined that Juniper had added an NSA-designed algorithm
to its products as far back as 2008, and that the breach that Juniper
revealed in 2015 involved an unknown entity changing the key to the
existing backdoor. According to the experts, this backdoor could be
exploited by sophisticated adversaries to decipher encrypted data
transmitted between Juniper-manufactured equipment, which is widely used
by the U.S. government and private sector. However, despite promising a
full investigation, Juniper has never publicly accounted for the
The letter is co-signed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold
Nadler, D-N.Y., Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson,
D-Miss., Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep.
Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Rep. Anna Eshoo,
D-Calif., Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Rep. Suzan
DelBene, D-Wash., Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.
and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La.
has now been over four years since Juniper announced it was conducting
an investigation, but your company has still not revealed what, if
anything, it uncovered. The American people — and the companies and U.S.
government agencies that trusted Juniper’s products with their sensitive
data — still have no information about why Juniper quietly added an NSA-designed,
likely-backdoored encryption algorithm, or how, years later, the keys to
that probable backdoor were changed by an unknown entity, likely to the
detriment of U.S. national security,” the members wrote.
The letter comes in the midst of Attorney General William Barr’s efforts
to pressure technology companies to weaken their encryption and assist
“Juniper’s experiences can provide a valuable case study about the
dangers of backdoors, as well as the apparent ease with which government
backdoors can be covertly subverted by a sophisticated actor,” the
The members asked Juniper to answer a list of
detailed questions by July 10. A copy of today’s letter is available