National Security

Report: Trump is Using His Personal Cell Phone Again

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump and his Chief of Staff John Kelly might have been on good terms at some point, but that's clearly no longer the case.

Sources who spoke to CNN say Trump has stepped up use of his personal cell phone in recent weeks so John Kelly won't know who he's talking to.

During the early days of Kelly's tenure, multiple sources said, Trump made many of his calls from the White House switchboard -- a tactic that allowed the chief of staff to receive a printed list of who Trump had phoned. Kelly has less insight into who Trump calls on his personal cell phone.

While Trump never entirely gave up his personal cell phone once Kelly came aboard, one source close to the White House speculated that the President is ramping up the use of his personal device recently in part because "he doesn't want Kelly to know who he's talking to."

The senior White House official said Trump "is talking to all sorts of people on it," noting Trump's barrage of private calls is a "recent development."

There's obvious concern that Trump using his personal cell phone to hide his calls from the White House means there will be no official record of his conversations, but there are also major security concerns.

Immediately after reading this story late last night, I was reminded of a recent report that the Department of Homeland Security detected illegal cell-site simulators in the Washington D.C. area that were probably used by foreign governments to intercept phone calls.

Cell phones approved and issued by the government include enhanced security measures, but we don't know what if any measures are installed on Trump's personal cell phone or if it's regularly updated.

Moreover, even if Trump's personal cell phone is secure, it's likely that he is calling people (such as Fox News hosts) whose phones are not secure.

It's a fairly good bet that someone out there is listening. Every intelligence agency in the world has good reasons for listening to Trump's conversations. The personal conversations of a president may not ordinarily be all that relevant, but Trump tends to turn his random conversations with ring wing cranks into impulsive policy decisions.

  • Username1016

    Looks like my comment got moderated right out of here. A little surprised but okay. “Some people thought” doesn’t mean that was the only way to look at it. I don’t believe the author intended it that way.

  • Draxiar

    I wonder what the odds are that our Intelligence Community knows who he is talking to anyway.

  • muselet

    I don’t think it’s only about John Kelly. I think Donald Trump doesn’t want to inconvenience the security services of his друг, Vova, Manly Authoritarian Man of Action, by using a more secure device.

    Either way, the man’s a fool.

    –alopecia

    • Does the Cyrillic say Vova?

      • muselet

        An interesting thought, but no. It transliterates to “droog,” meaning friend, mate, pal (it was used a lot in A Clockwork Orange … and I swear I didn’t think of that until just now).

        –alopecia

        • I get it. So Vova is a nickname for Vladimir?

          • muselet

            Exactly.

            –alopecia

  • Nefercat

    buttery mails

  • simpfan

    But please, conservatives, tell me again about Hillary’s server.

  • Aynwrong
  • Username1016

    Who remembers a controversial short story in Harper’s years ago, about a woman who was so messed up with an anxiety disorder (I guess) that she HAD to be talking to one of her comfort buddies pretty much every waking minute? She had them all on speed-dial, and one would barely extricate him- or herself before she was calling the next one. A lot of people didn’t like that story — they said it was making mean fun of the mentally ill. I’m a horrible person and thought it was hilarious.

    WHY am I flashing on that story after reading the post above? HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

  • Badgerite

    Does this really need to be said. trump is and has always been a walking security risk looking for back channels to the hostile power that attacked our electoral process and installed him in office . He’s a POS who I wouldn’t trust as far as I could spit.

    • Apparently it does need to be said, because that fact (along with a million others) just does not seem to be sinking in.