President Trump's personal iPhone conversations are being eavesdropped on by Chinese and Russian spies, which a former official is calling the largest White House data breach ever.
In May, it was reported that Trump refused to give up his personal unsecured cellphone because it would be "too inconvenient." On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that China and Russia have breached Trump's cell and are listening in on his conversations with friends and officials, hoping to influence U.S. policy.
"This stunning revelation by the NYT is one that has sweeping ramifications for intelligence and the security of the American people,” former White House chief information officer Theresa Payton told Fast Company. “If true, this may be the largest, most significant breach of White House communications in history. America’s most sophisticated peer competitor now has a direct line into the president’s confidential thinking and conversations."
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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump's main argument against Hillary Clinton was that she had violated national security by using a private email server during her time as secretary of state. At one point, he speculated Clinton had been hacked by "our enemies" the Chinese.
It was determined that Clinton's server was never hacked.
Trump was repeatedly warned by aides, other officials and the National Security Agency about his vulnerability to spying. Now the Chinese have been able to learn “how Mr. Trump thinks, what arguments tend to sway him and to whom he is inclined to listen," the Times reports, citing current and former officials who say American spies learned about the eavesdropping from human sources and intercepted communications.
“The Chinese have identified friends of both men and others among the president’s regulars, and are now relying on Chinese businessmen and others with ties to Beijing to feed arguments to the friends of the Trump friends," the paper adds. "The strategy is that those people will pass on what they are hearing, and that Beijing’s views will eventually be delivered to the president by trusted voices, the officials said. They added that the Trump friends were most likely unaware of any Chinese effort.”
Trump reportedly has three phones. Two of them have security software added by the National Security Agency. But the third, his personal phone, has none.
The Times reported that Trump refuses to give up the phone because he likes the convenience of having his contacts on it.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that the story was "soooo wrong." The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!"
The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018