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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE's cellphone usage, asking if he's compromised classified information.

Democratic Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics This week: House to vote on Turkey sanctions bill Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches 'News Tab' | Senate passes bill to take on 'deepfakes' | Schumer outlines vision for electric cars MORE (N.M.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny MORE (Ore.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy MORE (Ill.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Congress feels heat to act on youth vaping GOP senator wants Violence Against Women Act passage by year end MORE (Calif.) sent a letter Thursday to Bill Evanina, Trump's counterintelligence chief, asking if information has or could be stolen by foreign governments. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"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.