White House officials not long ago discovered that President Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly had his personal cell phone hacked into. Now, we have emails showing that Kelly admitted to it, but never made that information public.
What’s even more troubling is they believe it was compromised as long ago as December 2016 when he was at Trump’s transition office before serving as Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security.
Reports from Politico indicate that the phone was either signed onto via an insecure wireless network or a hacker, or foreign government accessed the phone there.
Kelly turned his phone into tech support staff after complaining about the fact that it wasn’t working correctly, and that software wasn’t updating, even though he noticed the issue several months prior.
Imagine that: the nation’s Homeland Security Secretary and Chief of Staff to the President keeping a phone for that long that was most likely the victim of hacking. That’s precisely what happened.
Here’s an email Kelly sent last June confirming the hack of his personal email account:
Even though this is just now coming to light for the general public, the White House released an internal memo not long ago that circulated throughout the entire Trump administration explaining the incident to aides, etc.
What’s even worse: even though officials believe a foreign government hacked into the phone, they aren’t sure what data was accessed. As you know, the Chief of Staff is one of the most powerful people in Washington, and he’s entrusted with virtually all of the business of the office of the president.
According to Politico:
“Staffers reviewed the cell phone for several days and tried to decipher what had happened to it, the officials said. Many functions on the phone were not working.
The IT department concluded the phone had been compromised and should not be used further, according to the memo. The document triggered concern throughout the West Wing about what information may have been exposed, one of the officials said.”
Bill Marczak, a senior research fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says its possible spies might be able to have had “full-access” to the phone, that being a “worst case scenario.” We won’t know yet until a full forensic analysis of the phone has been completed. The White House is not saying when that will happen.
“The [attackers] I would be most worried about are nation-states or other actors who may have access to resale of commercial spyware sold to nation-states,” he said.
Currently, the White House is embroiled in an internal probe concerning private email use by Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband and senior aid, Jared Kushner. They are accused of using personal email for government business and even transferring data onto servers of the Trump organization, further complicating data protocols and national security.
But, Hillary Clinton’s emails, right?