Trump tells world leaders to call him on personal cell phone; raises security concerns

Donald Trump has been giving out his personal cell phone number to different world leaders and asking them to call him on that line, according to anonymous U.S. officials — a break in normal protocol that poses a security risk.

President Trump’s cell phone is not a secure line. Normally, diplomatic calls are made from the White House, where the risk is much less. Official conversations are then documented and archived.

Trump reportedly gave his personal number to the leaders of France, Mexico and Canada. Only Prime Minster Justin Trudeau has chosen to contact Trump this way.

The news raised eyebrows among security experts who say the president’s decision makes him vulnerable to foreign spies. David Chollet, a former National Security Council official, believes that one should assume others are listening in on a conservation being conducted over an unsecured line.

“If you are speaking on an open line, then it’s an open line, meaning those who have the ability to monitor those conversations are doing so,” Chollet said.

“If someone is trying to spy on you, then everything you’re saying, you have to presume that others are listening to it.”

A prime example of this type of spying is when the U.S. was caught using a wiretap on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone. Even though the United States government considers Germany to be an ally, the decision was made to gather as much information about the foreign leader as possible.

Experts are cautioning Trump to steer clear of speaking to world leaders on an unsecured line, lest he create a national security problem.

The security of our country aside, important questions are pending. Did Justin Trudeau give Trump his personal cell? And if so, does he get late night texts from Trump? Perhaps he, and he alone, knows the true meaning of “covfefe.”

 

[AP] [The Guardian] [New York Times] [Photo courtesy AP via ABC News]