Russian and Chinese spies listen in on President Donald Trump when he uses iPhones that he’s refused to give up despite security concerns, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Unnamed officials told the Times that American intelligence agencies had learned of the Chinese and Russian eavesdropping from “human sources inside foreign governments and intercepting communications between foreign officials.”
The Times’ sources, the paper said, had reached out “out of frustration with what they considered the president’s casual approach to electronic security.”
Two of Trump’s three iPhones have received some alterations from the National Security Agency, the Times said, while a third is unaltered — the President continues to use that one, unnamed White House officials told the paper, because it holds his contacts’ information. He has agreed, per the report, to use separate phones for Twitter and phone calls.
The Chinese government has assembled a list of people with whom Trump speaks often in an effort to influence the President, the Times reported. Former RNC finance chair and alleged sexual assaulter Steve Wynn and Blackstone executive Stephen Schwarzman are on the list. A spokesperson for Schwarzman told the Times that he “has been happy to serve as an intermediary on certain critical matters between the two countries at the request of both heads of state.”
The Times said one of Trump’s motivations for using the cell phones, rather than the secure White House phone, is that cell phone calls are not logged on the White House switchboard.
Americans can perhaps rest assured that Trump isn’t spilling all of our state secrets on unsecured lines: In the Times’ words, administration officials say he “rarely digs into the details of the intelligence he is shown and is not well versed in the operational specifics of military or covert activities” — so there may not be much to spill.
That’s not to say the President is especially careful. Per the Times, a “scramble” ensued last year when Trump left his cell phone in a golf cart.