President Donald Trump’s cellphone conversations are being intercepted by Russia and China to gather information on his associates and policy positions.
Barack Obama, did not use cellphones to make calls during his time in office for this reason — using secure phones in the White House instead. The iPhone Obama used in his second term could not make calls, didn’t have a camera or microphone, and had very limited capabilities.
According to the New York Times, the discovery was made by White House officials who were alerted by individuals working within these foreign governments.
The names of the White House officials and individuals working within these foreign governments have remained anonymous for security reasons.
US intelligence and White House officials are increasingly concerned about President Donald Trump’s use of his official and personal iPhones to communicate with friends because of the risk that Chinese and Russian spies could be listening to Trump’s conversations.
White House aides have repeatedly warned the president that because his iPhones are not fully secure, they could be susceptible to tapping by Chinese and Russian intelligence. Yet Trump persists in using the phones instead of a more secure landline at the White House.
President Trump has been escalating trade tensions with China: He’s levied $200 billion worth of tariffs on the country and promised more. China has responded with tariffs of its own.
The president keeps two official iPhones with modifications by the National Security Agency, and a third personal phone for personal contacts, White House officials said.
But using any cell phone poses some risk. The report indicated Trump prefers using his cell phones over the White House’s more secure landline.
China has sought to use the information to form ties with Trump’s associates or “friends of the Trump friends” to ensure Beijing’s views will be delivered to the president, according to the officials cited in the report.
Russia is also listening in, it’s not trying as hard as China is to get into Trump’s good graces because of the already close relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Two out of Trump’s three iPhones are official phones and have been modified by the National Security Agency to limit their functions and thus make them less susceptible to hacking or interference. But the president’s calls on the phones can still be intercepted by foreign governments,