Dems request threat assessment over Trump's cellphone usage

Dems request threat assessment over Trump's cellphone usage
© Greg Nash

Democratic senators are requesting that the intelligence community conduct a threat assessment on President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE's cellphone usage, asking if he's compromised classified information.

Democratic Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichCNN congressional correspondent talks about her early love of trolls and family Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets Energy commission sees no national security risk from coal plant closures MORE (N.M.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHouse passes measure blocking IRS from revoking churches' tax-exempt status over political activity Senators introduce bipartisan bill to improve IRS Senate panel advances Trump IRS nominee MORE (Ore.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE (Ill.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (Calif.) sent a letter Thursday to Bill Evanina, Trump's counterintelligence chief, asking if information has or could be stolen by foreign governments. 

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"We are especially concerned about recent reporting that President Trump has eschewed the advice of counterintelligence experts and opted to use unsecured commercial devices for telephone calls and internet use. We believe this conduct is reckless and could endanger sensitive U.S. national security interests," the Democratic senators wrote. 

Politico reported last month that Trump was going "rouge" on his phone security by using a White House cellphone to tweet, a phone, it said, that does not have the same level of security as his predecessors' phones. 

Democrats also raised a red flag about the cellphone Trump uses to make calls having a camera and microphone, arguing such features "could be used to spy on the President and listen in on classified national security discussions." 

Democrats want the threat assessment "to determine whether sensitive government information has been exposed and whether plans, strategies, operations, or classified information have been or could be compromised by foreign adversaries due to the President’s cell phone usage." 

In addition to a threat assessment, the Democratic senators are requesting more information on unauthorized mobile surveillance devices being used more broadly around Washington, D.C.

"Although DHS has not attributed the cell-site simulator deployment to any specific entity, it is possible that foreign intelligence services or nefarious actors could attempt to intercept the President’s unsecured conversations," they wrote.