Washington, Oct 26 (IANS): President Donald Trump on Thursday denied that China and Russia have tapped his personal cellphone, a report made public by The New York Times, which said that the president continues to use that device despite warnings from the intelligence services.
“The New York Times has a new Fake Story that now the Russians and Chinese (glad they finally added China) are listening to all of my calls on cellphones,” said Trump on his official Twitter account.
“Except that I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorized. I like Hard Lines. Just more made up Fake News!” the President added.
Trump made his Twitter comments after the New York daily on Wednesday published a story saying that Chinese and Russian spies were “routinely eavesdropping” on the phone calls he makes from his personal cellphone, Efe reported.
The New York Times, citing top government officials, said that despite warnings from US intelligence services, the president so far has refused to exchange his personal cellphone for more secure communications methods, although that has been strongly recommended to him.
According to US intelligence, China intends to use what it is learning from Trump’s personal calls – for instance, what the president’s thinking is, what arguments he is considering and who he is listening to – to its benefit in the current bilateral trade dispute.
Among the people to whom Trump allegedly has spoken using that phone are the CEO of investment bank Blackstone Group, Stephen A. Schwarzman, and casino magnate Steve Wynn, who have ties to Beijing, according to the daily.
One of China’s aims, according to these reports, is to influence Trump’s environment and contacts.
US intelligence agents say – according to The Times – that Trump takes electronic security very lightly and does not limit his communications to secure devices that he has access to as president.
According to these reports, the president has three personal cellphones, two of which have been altered by the National Security Agency to modify their functions, but the third is a completely normal cellphone with the standard vulnerabilities.