Democrats raise security concerns over Trump cellphone use

Democrats raise security concerns over Trump cellphone use
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Democrats are demanding answers from the Trump administration on steps being taken to prevent the president from falling victim to foreign hackers, suggesting his personal cellphone use poses a national security threat. 

A pair of Democratic congressman sent a letter to high-level officials on Wednesday pressing them on reports that Trump frequently relies on his personal cellphone for conversations with those outside the White House.

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“While cybersecurity is a universal concern, the President of the United States stands alone as the single-most valuable intelligence target on the planet,” Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoCongressional Hispanic Caucus calls for answers on Mississippi ICE raids Congressional Hispanic Caucus members call for diversity within the Fed Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument MORE (D-Ariz.) wrote.

“Our national security should not depend on whether the President clicks on a malicious link on Twitter or his text application, or the fortuity of foreign agencies not knowing his personal cell number,” they wrote.

CNN reported earlier this week that Trump has begun to more frequently use his personal mobile device to contact those advising him outside the White House. 

The letter was sent Wednesday to Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats11 Essential reads you missed this week Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Hillicon Valley: Deepfakes pose 2020 test for media | States beg Congress for more election security funds | Experts worry campaigns falling short on cybersecurity | Trump officials urge reauthorization of NSA surveillance program MORE and the heads of the Secret Service and the White House Communications Agency. The Democrats asked the officials to explain any steps they are taking to ensure the president’s device is secure and cannot be exploited by hackers.

They asked, for instance, whether Trump’s device has been “properly vetted” to account for spearfishing threats, and whether officials ensure that Trump’s phone is not connected to unsecured networks when he travels outside of the White House grounds. 

They also want to know how the White House Communications Agency is addressing the threat of surveillance devices known as “Stingrays,” which the Department of Homeland Security recently acknowledged are being used in the nation’s capital. 

“The American people deserve to know whether steps are being taken to prevent the President’s personal phone from jeopardizing his own safety, the integrity of the Office, and critical national security information,” the lawmakers wrote.

When Trump first entered the Oval Office, he was reportedly using an unsecured Android phone, which he later replaced with an iPhone.

Meanwhile, the White House barred staffers from using personal cellphones while at work earlier this year, though the ban does not appear to apply to the president.