Someone finally wants to investigate Trump’s smartphone
After weeks of building concerns about the Trump administration’s bumbling efforts at security, someone in the federal government is finally expressing concern about reports that President Donald Trump is still using an unsecured Android smartphone.
Two Democratic senators, Tom Carper (DE) and Claire McCaskill (MO), sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis about the security of the phone and whether or not its properly archiving Trump’s many, many tweets.
It’s a fair line of inquiry. After all, if Trump rode a wave of cries about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to the White House then the government should investigate if Vladimir Putin is sliding into Trump’s DMs.
The letter, shared on Twitter by Sen. Carp on Tuesday morning, asked for details such as whether or not the phone Trump is using is encrypted, the steps taken to ensure the security of the phone, and whether there was any coordination with the Secret Service or NSA regarding the phone.
They also asked whether or not the National Archives and Records Administration had ensured the phone would save “any presidential records created through President Trump’s use of the device, in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.”
Trump has already deleted several tweets, mostly for typos, though the tweets should be archived per the Records Act.
And, in what is either Andy Kaufman-level performance art or a complete lack of self-awareness, Trump complaint-tweeted on Tuesday morning about leaks in Washington while tweeting from an Android device, which may or may not be encrypted.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
A smartphone saga
Initial reports indicated that Trump was going to have up to finally give up his beloved Android phone he had used for tweeting, texting, and playing Candy Crush when he entered the White House.
But a week later, the New York Times followed-up with a report that he hadn’t actually handed over the phone and had been using it instead of a highly-secured, self-destructing phone, such as the one used by former president Barack Obama. These unanswered security concerns are what prompted Carp and McCaskill’s letter.
An insecure White House
And there’s good reason for concern: multiple reports from the likes of the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post have outlined how brazenly Trump and his aides eschewed the need for security over the weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
When news of North Korea’s most recent missile launch broke while Trump was dining with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Trump and staff began handling the situation in the middle of a crowded dining room. Even more galling? According to CNN:
On Saturday night, the patio was lit only with candles and moonlight, so aides used the camera lights on their phones to help the stone-faced Trump and Abe read through the documents.
An as a cherry on top, a random guy who just happened to be eating dinner at the same time as the president took a bunch of photos and posted them to his public Facebook page, including one of him with the guy who has the nuclear “football.”
Looking at these photos and then reading Trump’s aforementioned tweet about leaks, it’s hard to understand how the president can’t connect the dots himself.
So, yes, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about what kind of phone Trump is using. And, while they’re at it, Carp and McCaskill might want to take things an extra step or two and make sure the entire administration takes a simple “How To Secure Yourself” class that might prevent Russia from being able to cut out the middle man entirely.