Re: 'None of the actors can be taken at face value
Query regarding embedding chips in the motherboard substrate. Is this even a part of the normal manufacturing process? If it isn't, we can probably discount that part of the story as hyperbole.
That's roughly what I was thinking. Embedding a physical device, no matter how small or how smart, is such absolute proof of where the attack was carried out that it seems far too clumsy, and far too likely to be found out.
Still, as others have pointed out, none of the actors in the story necessarily inspire one with confidence of truth, while all have something to gain from being manipulative.
But overall, this sounds more like the current equivalent of a Red under the Bed hysteria which seems so boringly cyclic in some parts of the world, the Chinese being the bogeyman-de-jour. Where's Arthur Miller when he's needed?