The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday released its annual defense spending bill, which reportedly contains a provision prohibiting the Department of Defense from using any products from Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.
According to multiple news outlets, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who is credited with adding the Kaspersky amendment to the bill, said in a statement that “ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are very alarming.”
News of this key stipulation in the legislation came one day after numerous U.S.-based employees of Kaspersky reportedly received visits from FBI agents conducting an investigation, the details of which are not known. According to Reuters, Kaspersky acknowledged “brief interactions” between the FBI and certain employees, describing these meetings as “due diligence” discussions. Reportedly, no warrants were served.
Despite its status as a leading cybersecurity research and software company, Kaspersky has come under scrutiny for its alleged close relationship with Kremlin officials, prompting fear that the company could assisting Russia with cyber campaigns such as Moscow’s interference with the U.S. presidential election.
In a May 11 hearing before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, four intelligence and justice officials testified that they would not be comfortable with Kaspersky software on their computers. Kaspersky has repeatedly denied that it has any connection to the Russian government.