President Donald Trump's refusal to commit to diplomatic protocol has often raised security concerns, and simultaneously earned him criticisms of being irresponsible, alarming and straight up childish. So you might not be too surprised to hear about his latest stunt. Apparently, Donald Trump's using his personal cell phone again in efforts to have a bit more privacy, but little does he know, he could be subjecting himself to potential security vulnerabilities yet again.
According to The Cut, Trump has grown fed up with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is known for keeping a tight lid on the president and who he contacts. While Trump never gave up his personal phone entirely, his willingness to use the White House switchboard showed that he was open to obeying Kelly's rules. However, Kelly is able to monitor his calls via the switchboard, which has caused some tension between the two in the past. And at this point, it seems like Trump is completely over it.
So he's apparently decided to ramp up the usage of his personal cell phone simply because, according to a source close to the White House, "he doesn't want Kelly to know who he's talking to." The senior White House official added that Trump "is talking to all sorts of people on it," including outside advisers and Republican lawmakers, according to The Hill. The move indicates that Kelly's role as a gatekeeper to Trump is slowly deteriorating, and also that Trump has little regard for his safety and office protocol. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the subject.
While Trump might be happy to have escaped Kelly's monitoring, Mary McCord, former leader of the Justice Department's national security division said that Trump could be subjecting himself to security risks. She explained to CNN,
Because the smartphones of high-level government officials — including the President — are obvious targets for foreign intelligence services, the government goes to significant effort to ensure that government-issued smartphones are constantly updated to address security vulnerabilities. Use of personal smartphones, which may not have all of the security features of government-issued smartphones or be regularly updated to address newly discovered vulnerabilities, present an obvious potential security risk.
Gizmodo also notes that the National Security Agency (NSA) advises high-ranking government officials to use official, specially designed devices that make it harder for foreign intelligence services to listen in on calls. It's unclear whether or not Trump's phone is equipped with security measures, but either way, he shouldn't feel too bad about having his calls monitored. I mean, it could definitely be worse: back in January, Kelly banned White House staffers from carrying their cell phones in the West Wing altogether after continuous leaks from inside the residence.
But then again, Trump has a history of openly sharing classified information — with or without a personal phone — so who knows if it'd honestly make a difference.
For example, in May 2017, The Washington Post published a bombshell story that revealed Trump had shared classified information with Russia during a meeting in the Oval Office. Former and current U.S. officials claimed that the info Trump shared with Russia would jeopardize the source of intelligence on the Islamic State. And the Post claimed the source of the info didn't give the United States permission to share those details with Russia. The entire ordeal was just... bad, especially given the fact that Trump and Russia are currently being sued by the Democratic party for allegedly sabotaging Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. But Trump fired back on Twitter saying he had the "absolute right" to share the info with the country.
Ay yi yi. IMO, Trump just seems like the kind of person who you have to let learn from their mistakes. While I hope that he doesn't run into any security breaches on his personal device, maybe he could learn something from this pettiness if he ever does.