Ever Wonder Why We Keep Seeing Reports Of Foreign Signal Intelligence Equipment In DC? Unsecured Presidential Personal Phone Edition

Washington DC has a fake cell phone tower problem. It is an open secret that Foreign Intelligence Services are using a variety of means to capture signals intelligence (SIGINT) in DC. From Wired:

LAST WEEK, THE Department of Homeland Security confirmed for the first time that it is aware of unauthorized cell-site simulators, the surveillance tools often called stingrays or IMSI Catchers, in various parts of Washington DC.

While it’s not surprising that foreign intelligence groups or criminal actors would be cell-snooping in the nation’s capital, the DHS statement is the first US government acknowledgement that sensitive political communications, not to mention those of anyone in DC, are at risk of interception by devices that are currently unaccounted for. In spite of this step, though, observers find it unlikely that any group will move to defuse the threat in the foreseeable future.

Ruh Roh!!!!!!

From Politico (emphasis mine):

President Donald Trump uses a White House cellphone that isn’t equipped with sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications, according to two senior administration officials – a departure from the practice of his predecessors that potentially exposes him to hacking or surveillance.

The president, who relies on cellphones to reach his friends and millions of Twitter followers, has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use, according to the administration officials.

The president uses at least two iPhones, according to one of the officials. The phones – one capable only of making calls, the other equipped only with the Twitter app and pre-loaded with a handful of news sites – are issued by White House Information Technology and the White House Communications Agency, an office staffed by military personnel that oversees White House telecommunications.

While aides have urged the president to swap out the Twitter phone on a monthly basis, Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was “too inconvenient,” the same administration official said.

The president has gone as long as five months without having the phone checked by security experts. It is unclear how often Trump’s call-capable phones, which are essentially used as burner phones, are swapped out.

Trump’s call-capable cell phone has a camera and microphone, unlike the White House-issued cell phones used by Obama. Keeping those components creates a risk that hackers could use them to access the phone and monitor the president’s movements. The GPS location tracker, however – which can be used to track the president’s whereabouts – is disabled on Trump’s devices.

“It’s baffling that Trump isn’t taking baseline cybersecurity measures at a time when he is trying to negotiate his way out of a trade war with China, a country that is known for using cyber tactics to gain the upper hand in business negotiations,” said Samm Sacks, a China and technology expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Former government officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations expressed astonishment that any White House would issue the president a cell phone that posed a security threat.

I’m sure there’s no operations security issues involved here at all. It isn’t like the President is up at odd hours with a bunch of media personalities who give him advice and wind him up about what decisions to make after he tells them what’s going on. Err, um… Never mind.

Stay spreadable!

Open thread.






174 replies
  1. 1
    JMG says:

    My kids are using their Christmas presents and going to Moscow for a couple of World Cup games (the tickets were the present, the rest is on them). They also got burner phones on the general principle that the FSB is in control of all wifi networks there. They have more operational security as sports fans and tourists than does the President of the United States. Cool.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JMG: Smart move. Assume that the security manager at each hotel is working for one of the intelligence services. They may also have personnel on the housekeeping staff.

  3. 3
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Scoop: Trump uses a cell phone that isn’t equipped with security features designed to shield his communications,

    is it a ZTE phone?

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I believe it is an iPhone based on the Politico reporting.

  5. 5
    Roger Moore says:

    Trump is a fool to skip communications security. If he managed to keep his communications secure, he could sell the contents to the highest bidder instead of letting the other guys steal it.

  6. 6
    Mary G says:

    On the bright side, they have to listen to Hannity kiss up for hours at a time.

  7. 7

    Using a personal cell that isn’t equipped with security features isn’t that far off from using an email account on a home-brew server

    The man is obsessed with himself and yet has no self-awareness.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Trump is a fool

    You really could have stopped there.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    They’re probably still trying to figure out what covfefe is code for.

  10. 10
    Schlemazel says:

    I recall that during the campaign Dump’s tweets were coming from one of two different phones. The iPhone tweeted shit posts with misspelling and racist bullshit. the Android phone used good grammar and was politically correct. It was assumed (correctly obviously) that it was an aide that owned an android while hair furor was stuck on his iPhone.

    That he does not understand signal security is no surprise

  11. 11
    Sab says:

    How is there operational insecurity. He cannot get two brain cells in synapse for more than 30 seconds, so who cares what they eavesdrop? He will have changed his mind by the end of any sentence. It’s not like there is policy to overhear. Their guess of what goes on in this critters noggin isn’t any better than ours.

  12. 12
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    I hope the FBI is listening.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Schlemazel: The people that tweet in the President’s name are his caddy, Dan Scavino, and Hope Hicks. Hicks, of course, is no longer doing that as she has left the administration. So they’re either the President’s or the caddy’s. If they’re real early in the AM or late at night and they have really bad grammar, they’re the President’s. If they read like they could be the President’s but have few to no grammatical and spelling errors, they’re the caddy.

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    Kelly’s got this.

    Right?

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X48G7Y0VWW4

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    I’ll be waiting for the screaming headlines… oh wait. He’s a Republican. Never mind.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sab: We have no idea what he tells Hannity or Giuliani or Dobbs or Ruddy or anyone else when he talks to them late at night or early in the morning on his personal phone. If he’s telling them classified information, then it doesn’t matter what he tells them he’ll do, he’s given out classified info, which he has the power to do as the president and the ultimate classification authority, and that’s being picked up. My guess is that the PRC knows everything he wants to do and he’s been briefed on in regard to the trade negotiations. Same with the DPRK. Same with Canada and Mexico for NAFTA. Etc, etc, etc, etc. And they also get an idea, no matter how erratic it might be, of his actual decision making process. Such as it is. Between this and the information that can be gleaned from the tweets in terms of building an operational profile of him, how he processes information, how he presents it, how he makes decisions or considers decision points, etc.

  18. 18
    JMG says:

    @Adam L Silverman: One of my son’s friends (as a former, if there is such a thing, Boston pol he has many friends) is a reporter for the Wall St. Journal and he advised my son and daughter to do this.

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Trump is a fool

    Could just stop there.

    ETA: beaten to the punch

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: I’m pretty sure that by now Scavino is licensed to kill gophers by the United States of America.

  21. 21
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Between this and the information that can be gleaned from the tweets in terms of building an operational profile of him, how he processes information, how he presents it, how he makes decisions or considers decision points, etc.

    So what you’re saying is that we as a country are fucked, essentially.

  22. 22
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Gopher Cong. . .

  23. 23
    Mike in NC says:

    We’ve been sold out. There is literally a selling price for every national park, art gallery, museum, and other piece of property formerly owned by the federal government, now owned by the Trump Crime Cartel.

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JMG: It is a smart idea and good advice.

  25. 25
    TenguPhule says:

    “It’s baffling that Trump isn’t taking baseline cybersecurity measures at a time when he is trying to negotiate his way out of a trade war with China, a country that is known for using cyber tactics to gain the upper hand in business negotiations,”

    It makes perfect sense if you figure this is how he signals how he wants to be bribed.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Gophers war, gophers army!

  27. 27
    Doug R says:

    @Adam L Silverman: As part of Five Eyes, isn’t it Canada’s JOB to spy on trump?

  28. 28
  29. 29
    A Ghost to Most says:

    So, what are the odds Mueller got a warrant to run a stingray near the WH?

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Doug R: If it wasn’t before it is now. I’d be surprised if every one of our allies and partners hasn’t stepped up collection in the past 18 months. This also includes in New York, at Mar a Lago, and near his gold properties in NJ, Northern VA, and south Florida.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Don’t break your arms patting yourself on the back!

  32. 32
    Schlemazel says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Yeah, that is now, I was referring to during the campaign. I never saw anyone say it was Hicks but that makes sense.

    Meanwhile I wish they would send the caddy to negotiate with Un, he couldn’t be as bad as what we are sending

  33. 33
    Chet Murthy says:

    @JMG: A friend told me that when traveling across national borders, he assumes all devices will be penetrated, so he buys burners and crushes ’em when he reaches home. Penetrated by US intelligence, and *also* by whatever foreign adversary.

    ETA: “all devices” obvs. includes laptops. And the penetration is assumed not removable by factory reset — assumption is that it’s penetration of lower-level firmware.

  34. 34
    Doug R says:

    @JMG: Besides the security issue, the rates on those European phones have to be better than the legalized rape phone companies do here when you cross a border.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    They’re airborne!!!!!!

  36. 36
    sdhays says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s hard for me to get too concerned about this. As the French President said, he’s pretty predictable. And he’s totally bribable, so what they’re manipulating is the size of their bribe rather than US policy – that’s already gone. Of course, I’m concerned about the compromise of classified information, but that ship sailed long ago, even before he was gabbing about Israeli intelligence to Kislyak in the Offal Office.

    It would be AMAZING if the FBI was monitoring his communications with a sealed warrant, but I don’t think the FSM loves me that much…

  37. 37

    From an earlier thread that I killed. A cerebral and emotional spy thriller that has became a surprise hit in India and was in top 20 over here too, despite a limited release.

    Its set in 1971 before the Indo-Pak war, that resulted in the formation of Bangladesh. The protagonist is a Kashmiri Muslim woman played by Alia Bhatt, who is an Indian intelligence operative. Her cover is her marriage, she is married into a prominent Pakistani military family. The intelligence she delivered helped prevent the sinking of India’s only air- craft carrier at that time.
    Directed by Meghana Gulzar, whose father is the famous lyricist Gulzar, it has Alia Bhatt playing the spy Sehmat and Vicky Kaushal plays her husband. Meghana has focused on the personal toll spying takes.

    Trailer with subtitles in English
    * Raazi == Agreed (Agreement)

  38. 38
    Brachiator says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Trump is a fool to skip communications security.

    Trump is a fool.

  39. 39
    Doug R says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Makes me happy.

  40. 40
    Schlemazel says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Yeah, that is now, I was referring to during the campaign. I never saw anyone say it was Hicks but that makes sense.

    Meanwhile I wish they would send the caddy to negotiate with Un, he couldn’t be as bad as what we are sending@Adam L Silverman:
    Yeah, that is now, I was referring to during the campaign. I never saw anyone say it was Hicks but that makes sense.

    Meanwhile I wish they would send the caddy to negotiate with Un, he couldn’t be as bad as what we are sending

  41. 41
    raven says:

    @Chet Murthy: Fuck, I’ve figured the heat was looking back at me though the tv for 50 years!

  42. 42
    Schlemazel says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Yeah, that is now, I was referring to during the campaign. I never saw anyone say it was Hicks but that makes sense.

    Meanwhile I wish they would send the caddy to negotiate with Un, he couldn’t be as bad as what we are sending

  43. 43
    Quantumman says:

    Adam,

    Interested in your take on the outcome of the WH meeting between Trump and Rosenstein, the FBI and IC folks. Do you think they folded and gave Trump what he wants?

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dmsilev: Welp, no need for me to say that now.

  45. 45
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @JMG: My son was in Moscow in March. Took a burner phone and a burner laptop.

  46. 46
    Doug R says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Training exercise for when Mueller releases the indictments.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    sdhays says:

    @Adam L Silverman: All the sweeter:

    President Trump, increasingly concerned that his summit meeting in Singapore next month with North Korea’s leader could turn into a political embarrassment, has begun pressing his aides and allies about whether he should take the risk of proceeding with a historic meeting that he had leapt into accepting, according to administration and foreign officials.

    What a fucking moron….

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: I’ve seen that before. Its a classic.

  50. 50
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Chet Murthy: I have an Eastern Europe phone that stays with a trusted friend, which I use when I’m there, and leave my US phone in the US.

  51. 51
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Don’t break your arms patting yourself on the back!

    Trump wants a Nobel Peace Prize. Wants it bad..

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I wonder who would be willing to give “blood wings” to a baboon.

  53. 53

    Chris Hayes wins the internets for tonight.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Schlemazel: @Schlemazel: @Schlemazel: Can someone please reset Schlemazel? He appears to be stuck. Thanks!

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @raven: You took the brown acid, didn’t you?

  56. 56
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: We are not that lucky, Cheryl. But I wish we were.

  57. 57
    sdhays says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Ah, to dream…

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    A friend told me that when traveling across national borders, he assumes all devices will be penetrated, so he buys burners and crushes ’em when he reaches home.

    Interesting. I listen to some tech shows hosted by hackers, and have not heard them advocate anything so extreme.

  59. 59
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I believe it is an iPhone based on the Politico reporting.

    Yeah, iPhones are the klassiest, elite, most expensive ones, right?

    ISTR a Hong Kong (Dubai?) ‘official’ 18k-gold-plated iPhone. Bet somebody ‘gifted’ the Oval Office Occupant with at least one of those — maybe Ivanka / Jared / DonJr as well. Any one of them would take such a gift in a heartbeat, and as for handing it over to some sweaty low-level bureaucrat for security testing, ppft!

  60. 60
    Schlemazel says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I messed up . . . messed up . . . messed up. Not entirely sure what happened.

    Maybe whack it on the side like an old TV set?

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Schlemazel: Percussive maintenance is the technical term.

  62. 62
    Mary G says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me to find out WaPo and the FTFNYT have friends with sweepers, and all the leaks he bitches so much about start with him.

  63. 63
    Doug R says:

    @Schlemazel: Just get a FPer to delete the double posting double posting.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Quantumman: From what I can tell, they managed to short circuit the demand for an investigation with yesterday’s move of adding it to the ongoing IG investigation. That will by around a year before anything is ready to be reported back. In terms of giving a classified briefing to Nunes and Gowdy – it is what it is. In terms of not turning anything directly over to Giuliani and Sekulow, they held the line. My feeling is that Nunes will tell Giuliani whatever it is he sees. Or, rather, what he’s told by Gowdy as from all the reporting Nunes never actually reads any of the classified materials he requests and/or is supposed to review. Which shows.

    However, when Giuliani starts flapping his gums about this info, which he will because he can’t help himself because he’s bugfuck nuts, it’ll just be one more data point for Mueller in his investigation. And since the source’s name is out there unofficially, formally confirming this for Nunes and Gowdy isn’t really giving much away.

  65. 65
    Steeplejack says:

    Whew, glad I drilled down and read the details! For a minute there you had me worried, but thank God it’s not like Trump is using a private e-mail server containing a handful of retroactively classified documents discussing information already available in the New York Times. That would be a crisis of unimaginable proportions!

  66. 66
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    They may also have personnel on the housekeeping staff.

    If anyone *needs* to bring a laptop to such a place and leave it in their hotel room, they should be aware of Evil Maid Attacks. (Guide doesn’t mention enabling power-on and hard-drive passwords and disabling the Intel management stuff; these can help too.)

    An “evil maid” with unlimited time at their disposal will always be successful, but reasonable measures, such as the ones outlined in this document, can be taken to ensure that in your case the time and effort required to mount a physical attack makes it simply unrealistic

    There’s lots more to be paranoid about (e.g. accessing http:// websites); here’s a guide specific to Stanford which looks helpful:
    https://uit.stanford.edu/security/travel/high-risk-countries-recommendations
    Best to assume that it’s been rooted anyway, though.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: A brave, brave man.

    I just texted the tweet and the following to a former student and friend who is the chief of staff for US Army North’s task force stationed at Bliss in San Antonio:

    You requisition a jump tabbed baboon? What exactly are you all doing at that task force?

    It was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

  69. 69
    randy khan says:

    Using a personal cell that isn’t equipped with security features isn’t that far off from using an email account on a home-brew server

    I feel compelled to point out that the home brew server, set up by a pro, likely was significantly more secure than using a personal cell, not to mention that the server was intended to be used only for non-classified communications. (And also was much more secure than the public email address used by Colin Powell.)

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Yep. And as much as Hayes is largely joking, this has to be a real concern. That everything he’s said on his personal phone since January 2017 is in the hands of allies, partners, peer competitors, and enemies. All of whom have to look out for their own interests.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Schlemazel:

    Maybe whack it me on the side like an old TV set?

    Fixed that for you.//

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: Glad we could put your mind at ease.

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: Which is why it wasn’t actually a home brew server. It was actually a build out of President Clinton’s server, which was approved by the tech folks on his Secret Service detail.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I saw no reason to go for blood wings. I had already earned them; just pin them on me. I was also hungover as f from the black hat- officer drinking session the night before.

  75. 75
    Chet Murthy says:

    @randy khan: And also more secure than the official “unclassified State Department servers”, which got (heh) hacked.

  76. 76
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    that theory that Elliot Broidy, the CA millionaire who hired Cohen to pay-off a mistress who had had an abortion, the theory that Broidy was just acting as a cut-out for trump, whose mistress and affair it really concerned? Did that theory just get a little less speculative?

    Susan Simpson @ TheViewFromLL2
    Dec 1, 2017: Elliott Broidy makes first payment under a $1.6M hush agreement negotiated by Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, that prevents Brechard from speaking of her affair/abortion with David Dennison.
    Dec 2, 2017: Broidy gets a private meeting with Trump.

    Simpson appears to be connecting the dots between the Broity-Cohen story, and Broidy’s role in that other trump tower meeting, based on this long NYT article that I haven’t read all the way through yet
    The Princes, the President and the Fortune Seekers.
    Which also includes this nugget

    Broidy met Trump once again on Dec. 2. He reported back to Nader that he’d told Trump the crown princes were “most favorably impressed by his leadership.” He offered the crown princes’ help in the Middle East peace plan being developed by Jared Kushner. He did not tell Trump that his partner had complete contempt for the plan — and for the president’s son-in-law.
    “You have to hear in private my Brother what Principals think of ‘Clown prince’s’ efforts and his plan!” Nader wrote. “Nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn’t for who he is married to.”

  77. 77
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And they also get an idea, no matter how erratic it might be, of his actual decision making process. Such as it is. Between this and the information that can be gleaned from the tweets in terms of building an operational profile of him, how he processes information, how he presents it, how he makes decisions or considers decision points, etc.

    They don’t need to listen to his phone calls to figure that out. It’s not that complicated.

    @sdhays:

    President Trump, increasingly concerned that his summit meeting in Singapore next month with North Korea’s leader could turn into a political embarrassment, has begun pressing his aides and allies about whether he should take the risk of proceeding with a historic meeting that he had leapt into accepting, according to administration and foreign officials.

    ^^Exhibit A.

  78. 78
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You took the brown acid, didn’t you?

    You kids, these days (snort).

    I never did anything one-tenth as exciting / illicit as Raven, but I did spent my formative young-adult years in a small English-language-global social network. (SF fanzine fandom, 1970s/80s — fewer than 10k people, mostly in the US/Canada/United Kingdom/Australia). During which I learned many things about total strangers’ lives that I didn’t even want to know — quite a few of which turned out to be true, eventually. That experience meant that I’ve always assumed, for instance, that anything I write here in the comments, much less on the front page, will some day be available to my worst enemy. Not that anyone’s (yet) said Don’t talk to me about LGBTQ+ rights, when you were a TERF back in 1978!!! (stuff I wrote at the time could now be interpreted that way), but as a devout Cynic I’ve chosen to be prepared for the eventuality.

    You’re a lawyer, you should know how that works.

  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Some traditions are just weird.

  80. 80
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Typical double standard

    If a Dem did this, the Village would be screaming bloody murder, while congress and the FBI would launch 7 different investigations.

    But it’s not, so IOKIYAR

  81. 81
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady):

    Using a personal cell that isn’t equipped with security features isn’t that far off from using an email account on a home-brew server

    I wish this question would be asked of Sarah Huckabee Sanders by one of our intrepid reporters….

    Oh.

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anne Laurie: One, I was fucking with him. Two, Huh?

  83. 83
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Brachiator:

    Interesting. I listen to some tech shows hosted by hackers, and have not heard them advocate anything so extreme.

    Here’s a mid-level-paranoia guide for serious techies:
    Travel (Linux) laptop setup
    (I kinda like that guide, haven’t thought at all about loopholes though.)

  84. 84
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Can someone please reset Schlemazel? He appears to be stuck. Thanks!

    Shades of Hymie and “the bunco squad”.

    (from Get Smart)

  85. 85
    randy khan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Funny how details like that never got much play.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Donald is a fucking disaster, on multiple levels. Not the least is for a paranoid guy, he’d not paranoid about his personal communications, which is fucking ridiculous.

    His death needs to be prolonged and painful in order to adequately punish him for his many failings, personal, political, and patriotic.

  87. 87
    Platonailedit says:

    @WereBear:

    We will always have the #tansuitgate memory.

    The traitor and his gang of corrupt thugs are breaking every fucking ‘norm’ and the msms minions are letting them get away with it.

  88. 88
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    However, when Giuliani starts flapping his gums about this info [. . .].

    I have been fantasizing about this and hoping that Rosenstein drops some telltale niblets in the information turned over.

    Giuliani: “And now we find that this mole, this plant in the campaign, one Ronald McDonald by name . . .”

  89. 89
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Whatever you say in print or ‘public’ (any group of more than two people), assume your worst enemy is/will listening, so it *will* come back one day to bite you.

    Don’t they teach that in law school? Because it seems like it would be useful.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anne Laurie: Is that what you were saying? I wasn’t a part of your community in the ’70s, I don’t know your terms. TERF? I’ve been an asshole to you, so turn about is fair play.

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: I mention them when appropriate.

  92. 92
    oldgold says:

    Nate Silver
    @NateSilver538
    So, that didn’t take long… Reuters now reporting that Giuliani’s claim of a Sept. 1 deadline was “entirely made-up”.

  93. 93
    Citizen_X says:

    Using a personal cell that isn’t equipped with security features isn’t that far off from using an email account on a home-brew server

    Ha, no. It’s way worse, and he’s getting dragged in his Twitter feed for that.

  94. 94
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My permanent sensitivity to eavesdroppers can make me a little *too* opaque, sometimes. Apologies if it sounded like I was being mean to you!

    (If you don’t know from TERF, you don’t need to, and you almost certainly don’t want to.)

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oldgold: Has someone asked Rudy Giuliani for a comment about Rudy Giuliani’s statement regarding when the investigation would conclude?

  96. 96
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @oldgold: Time and timing.

  97. 97
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Mary G:

    It wouldn’t surprise me to find out WaPo and the FTFNYT have friends with sweepers, and all the leaks he bitches so much about start with him.

    This and the OP gives additional oomph to the true story[1] that DJ Trump is “Leaker-in-Chief”, e.g.
    Trump Goes Mafioso on His White House Comms Shop

    Trump’s main problem, though, is this: he can deploy as many East German–style tactics as he wants, but even with the help of a cell-phone detector, it’s all but impossible to run a water-tight ship when many of his staff view him as the leaker-in-chief.

    It matters not that some leaks are unintentional.
    [1] We know this because he uses projection as a confession technique.

  98. 98
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Watch your ass, Donnie! Jeff Flake might just have to write an op-ed, or give a speech whilst affecting a very sad mien.

    Jason K. Morrell @ CNNJason
    Jeff Flake just told CNN off cam of Trump’s demand for a DOJ investigation:
    “It’s not appropriate. It really isn’t. How DOJ responds will tell if we’re in a crisis or not. So far, it’s held.”
    … so far.

    Off camera

  99. 99
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    write an op-ed, or give a speech

    Too public

  100. 100
    oldgold says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Actually, it is “timing and time.”

  101. 101
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @oldgold:

    Reuters now reporting that Giuliani’s claim of a Sept. 1 deadline was “entirely made-up”.

    So why did anybody believe otherwise?

    Anyway it wasn’t “made-up”, it was a tactical lie from the Trump camp designed to deceive the American people, which was eagerly aided and abetted by the MSM.

    Or as it should be known, business as usual.

  102. 102
    Platonailedit says:

    Trump isn't always writing his tweets. The Boston Globe reports that West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar to mimic his style.

    They overuse exclamation points, capitalize random words, and write in fragments.

    https://t.co/RaNd9yqQKA— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 22, 2018

    Typical rethugs’ way of blaming it all on their minions?

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    So, basically, the GOP is every lousy parent who knows that their kid is a holy terror but waits for other people to try and publicly discipline the kid so they can get huffy about it.

  104. 104
    oldgold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Not that I know of.

    Rudy will probably be on ‘Faux and Fiends’ tomorrow morning saying he never said it.

  105. 105
    rikyrah says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    So freaking tacky. What do they sell for?😠

  106. 106
    eemom says:

    Bernie’s gonna run as a Dem for reelection. 😆😄😅

  107. 107
    Platonailedit says:

    We spent 2017 looking at 2016, and we're spending 2018 looking at 2017. What is going on NOW? We don't have time to look at 2018 in retrospect.@sarahkendzior— Rick Smith (@RickSmithShow) May 22, 2018

  108. 108
    ArchTeryx says:

    @raven: Charlie don’t surf, but he does dig.

  109. 109
    satby says:

    @Platonailedit: the funny thing is they somehow think this story makes Trump sound less bad, but his staff has to write like a third grader to imitate him?

  110. 110
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Platonailedit:

    Typical rethugs’ way of blaming it all on their minions?

    No, this is standard Kremlin-West Tweetology. People are always speculating about who wrote each tweet. The staff could do a lot better on the style-aping IMO.
    My rule-of-thumb is that the early morning tweets are usually DJT’s.

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: Gosh, you show up as an asshole. How surprising.

  112. 112

    Perhaps that explains why this site comes up as ce.com on my mobile device

  113. 113

    @Omnes Omnibus: that’s the point of the exercise. Gaia, punch in already.

  114. 114
    jonas says:

    @Platonailedit:

    Trump isn’t always writing his tweets. The Boston Globe reports that West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar to mimic his style.

    “Sources also report that aides have studied the social media language inflections of ‘differently-abled’ adults at Washington-area group homes, as well as cards and other messages, primarily in crayon, exchanged at local pre-schools and kindergarten lunch tables, which they hope will give them insights into the President’s rhetorical style.”

  115. 115
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @eemom:
    Are you serious?

  116. 116
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That’s not very nice…

  117. 117
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I noticed today that both Giuliani and John Cornyn today cited Comey as a reason for Mueller to put some kind of time limit on his investigation, both effectively admitting that Comey helped trump waddle into the White House.

  118. 118
    B.B.A. says:

    @eemom: Can’t he just go home and knit? Let some younger politicians have a chance, stop sucking the air out of the room, etc., etc.

  119. 119

    @Viva BrisVegas: In 2002, it went by the name of “Iraq.” The flaw is genetic.

  120. 120
    Brachiator says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Here’s a mid-level-paranoia guide for serious techies:
    Travel (Linux) laptop setup
    (I kinda like that guide, haven’t thought at all about loopholes though.)

    Thanks. The Chromebook option (or cheap) laptop makes sense.

  121. 121
  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Yes, she and i have no history.

    And step off of eemom. It is personal.

  123. 123
    Bill Arnold says:

    Dunno if Adam has seen this:
    Florida … Parrot
    Parrot learns to use owner’s Alexa to operate lights

  124. 124
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Millard Filmore: clicking around twitter earlier, I saw he used his time on MTP yesterday to explain to Chuck Todd what’s wrong with the Democratic PAH-ty

    ETA: @Bill Arnold: God, now Florida Parrot is a thing? I blame Buffett

  125. 125
    sukabi says:

    not surprising at all that Drumpf uses unsecured phones…he doesn’t give a shit about national security, he only cares about his bottom line.

    How long did it take for him to spill secret info to the Russians — a month or two, the first time. I guarantee you that he’s given away more classified info to anyone who will fill up his bank accounts.

  126. 126

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s not just for comedy any more.

  127. 127
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Anne Laurie: my law school focused more on “three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead”, but we were pretty hardcore.

  128. 128
    Aleta says:

    Remember the stories a year or so ago, about Russians examining and mapping infrastructure in the middle of the US? My details may be wrong, but iirc: There were Russian diplomats (intelligence operatives) who would disappear from their diplomatic posts (They’re not supposed to do that without notifying us.) Eventually they’d turn up somewhere in the midwest or west, out in the open. Maybe near buried fiber optics cables. I don’t know how many times this happened, but the conclusion was they were trying to map our communications network so they might know how to disrupt it. The story that I remember was that, although this happened a number of times, the US was not taking action against the Russians who were discovered.

    Separately, in several East Coast cities, there were some arrests of Russians who’d been living in residential neighborhoods and posing as families. The Russians were said to be operatives who interacted with their neighbors, maybe took photos of things–I don’t know what they were collecting or what happened after their arrest.

    And for years we’ve allowed Russian planes to do fly overs of our interior so they can observe US military installations. (A mutual agreement between NATO countries vs Soviet/Warsaw P. countries.) Bush the 1st negotiated/signed the treaty; Bush the 2nd was Pres. when flyovers began.

    I wonder if our intelligence services have preferred to watch the Russians collect information (whether cell sites, hacking, various mapping) instead of shut them down. Thinking they can track Russian capabilities and stay ahead of them that way. Maybe we got stuck in that pattern, believing we would remain superior. As with 9-11, there could be some damaging disconnects.

    With the fake cell sites, isn’t it possible (aside from any unsecured phones of top officials) they might not be intended for recording/listening to individuals (that’s a LOT of sifting through massive amount of stored conversations). But used for a rougher scale of pattern analysis or some kind of traffic or volume mapping? (This is vague because I’m vague.)

  129. 129
    eemom says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷:

    Thank you.

    The “history” is in his mind. That, plus he likes to use the word asshole a lot.

  130. 130
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Speaking: “Yeah, Sean, I fuck lots of women. Lots and lots of beautiful women.”

    Thinking: “Gee, I wonder if Vlad is listening in?”

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: @B.B.A.: @Millard Filmore: @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I don’t know why this is being allowed. What an asshole!
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/05/21/bernie-sanders-democrat-independent-vermont-601844

    Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination in Vermont — but he won’t accept it if he wins.

    The famously independent senator, who briefly joined the Democratic Party to run in the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary only to un-enroll later, officially announced Monday that he would seek a third term in the Senate this fall. He also said that he’ll pull the same maneuver that he did in his 2006 and 2012 Senate races: Running as a Democrat, declining the nomination when he wins and then running as an independent.

    The move makes it virtually impossible for another Democrat to seek the party’s nod. And it allows Sanders to loom large in the party primary in August, but still preserve his independence.

    A Sanders spokeswoman did not answer when asked whether the senator considered doing things differently in light of his new party and Senate leadership roles.

    The Vermont Democratic Party passed a resolution over the weekend supporting Sanders’ move, proclaiming that he could still be considered a member of the party “for all purposes and entitled to all the rights and privileges that come with such membership at the state and federal level.”

    “It’s hard to explain to people from out of state how we’ve made peace with it as a party, how Bernie’s made peace with it. We’re on board,” said Vermont state chairman Terje Anderson.

    Anderson pointed out that Sanders appears at party fundraisers, and participates in the coordinated campaign efforts with other Democrats. He acknowledged that the approach probably “intimidates people from running,” but he said that the complaints about this among state Democrats have faded, and the role that Sanders has taken on nationally has helped with that.

    “It’s a minority, and it’s a shrinking minority over time as he’s done more and more for the party and with the party,” Anderson said.

    Still, Anderson said he’s faced a number of tough questions about this arrangement at DNC meetings over the years.

    In a statement, Sanders thanked the state party for the resolution, citing the work that he’s doing pushing for a change in the economy in Vermont and around the country.

    “I welcome the Vermont Democratic Party’s work to build bridges and not walls,” Sanders said. “Let’s fight for our children’s future and not over labels.”

    Much more at the link.

    This Terje Anderson guy needs to be fired. And Senator Leahy, as the state’s most senior elected Democrat needs to smack some heads.

  132. 132
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: Thanks. That parrot is smarter than most people’s 3rd graders!

  133. 133
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: FINS!!!!

  134. 134
    Luthe says:

    @satby: You are insulting third graders. Most of them write better than that.

  135. 135
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Aleta: During a network centric counterintelligence investigation you want to leave the network intact as long as possible so you can get the deepest, fullest, most robust understanding of what you’re looking at and dealing with. And in the case of the for official cover diplomats, they have diplomatic immunity so the most that can happen to them is they are persona non grataed and sent home. But in general, unless you’re very confident that you can disturb the network and not lose sight of the remaining pieces and connections, you don’t disturb it unless you absolutely have to. And I write this as someone who has taught this stuff to Army personnel.

  136. 136
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Aleta: As far as the fake cell sites, they’re for gathering as much SIGINT as possible. Patterns of who is calling or texting or emailing or tweeting or instagraming who, as well as the content of all of those different forms of communication. Then you have the technical SMEs sort and sift it. Then it goes for analysis. Then it gets worked into analytical product. Then it is vetted, vetted again, given a final packaging, given a final senior level review, then disseminated.

  137. 137
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m going to rub dog bellies and watch TV. Catch you all on the flip!

  138. 138
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    What Sanders is doing is overt sabotage of the Democratic party. It’s astounding that he actually has the party’s blessing.

  139. 139
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Trump apologist tries to claim DOJ and FBI ‘were running an outright entrapment effort’

    I said last Monday, the evidence must be so overwhelming they no longer will deny the charges and instead plead entrapment.

  140. 140
    Chet Murthy says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: Obligatory: Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?

    ETA: in case it’s not obvious, re: “pleading entrapment”

  141. 141
    Yarrow says:

    @Amir Khalid: It really is.

  142. 142
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    @Amir Khalid:

    Query as to how *I* was an asshole for pointing this out.

    To anyone who’s not a delusional stalker, that is.

  143. 143
    Platonailedit says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: Question is will the pathetic msm blare out that blatantly false drumbeat until the 2018 elections are over?

  144. 144
    SoupCatcher says:

    @Aleta: Did someone call for tinfoil?

    I don’t think they’ve arrested anyone for the Metcalf attack of 2013. At the time, among San Jose neighbors, the general consensus was that it was a dry run for something. But that something never materialized.


    http://www.latimes.com/nation/.....tml#page=1

  145. 145
    Yarrow says:

    @Bill Arnold: I love that parrot. Maybe if someone got Trump a digital assistant he’d find it so entertaining he’d stop destroying the country.

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SoupCatcher:

    The true paranoids wonder if that’s why CA is making residental solar mandatory for new construction. Harder to attack a power grid whose generation is diffused that way.

  147. 147
    trnc says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Adam L Silverman:

    We have no idea what he tells Hannity or Giuliani or Dobbs or Ruddy or anyone else when he talks to them late at night or early in the morning on his personal phone. If he’s telling them classified information, then it doesn’t matter what he tells them he’ll do, he’s given out classified info, which he has the power to do as the president and the ultimate classification authority,

    Wait a minute – I thought presidents have the power to declassify, thus making previously classified material available to anyone. Does he have the power to selectively declassify on a whim to a buddy with no security clearance, but otherwise keep it classified? Or reclassify it as soon as he gets off the phone, but without any actual order to reclassify?

    If he can selectively declassify and reclassify with no official trail, what’s the point of WH security clearances at all? I don’t mean that as a rhetorical question with the current scofflaw; I’m asking about the actual principle and practice of declassification.

  148. 148
    B.B.A. says:

    @trnc: As a former occupant of the office put it, “When the president does it, it’s not illegal.”

  149. 149
    Chet Murthy says:

    Damn, Rubin brings the pain: Pompeo speech reveals no realistic plan to get a better Iran deal

    The demands were so over-the-top as to convey a total lack of seriousness. “If you read the 12 requirements Pompeo listed for a new deal, it becomes immediately apparent that the administration does not take diplomacy seriously,” says Jake Sullivan, who served in various capacities in the Obama administration and was Hillary Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser during the 2016 campaign.

    Damn.

  150. 150
    sanjeevs says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Cohen claimed in court papers that Broidy was covered under attorney client privilege. But when asked in open court to name his clients he said he had three – Trump, Trump Org and Hannity.
    There has never been any real evidence that Broidy was party to that NDA.

  151. 151
    SectionH says:

    Updates on the Kilauea eruption are a bit worrisome. Actual county Civil Defense alerts. Not Max?

  152. 152
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trnc: They do, which is why I wrote:

    which he has the power to do as the president and the ultimate classification authority,

    There is supposed to be a formal process, but that process is established by the President’s authority. In short it’s a norm to follow the process. If the President decides to call into A Blonde With Two Boobs tomorrow morning on Fox during executive time and read them the presidential daily brief over the phone on a whim, he has the authority to do so.

  153. 153
    Adam L Silverman says:

    And with that I’m going to bed.

  154. 154
    Calouste says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Flake by name, flake by nature.

  155. 155

    @SectionH: Not Max is on another rock to the west.

  156. 156
    SectionH says:

    Not Max, any updates? YES I know you’re on Maui, but word spreads. Immediate worry for close people close to the summit seems to be the sulfur dioxide.

  157. 157
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think some BJ commenters know how that digital telephony stuff works. Maybe one of them could send in a transcript every morning. Might make an interesting feature to go with flower and garden pix, and front door and travel posts.

  158. 158
    patrick II says:

    What I would love to hear from Trump phone calls (if anyone is intercepting them) is conversations with Nunes, Ryan, and McConnell. I think that might be very interesting.

  159. 159
    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    @Aleta:

    The Russians are definitely going to take down our power grid; that’s why they’ve been hacking around in our infrastructure.

    May I make a prediction? Putin will yank our grid, pose as a non-Russian terrorist group to shake us down, and collect billions in ransom to restore power.

    Then forevermore he’ll say coy things hinting he was responsible for the outage, but ultimately hide behind plausible deniability.

    The RWNJs will deny Russia’s involvement despite overwhelming evidence, and Putin will move on to his next scheme to make America look stupid.

    I’m feeling a little pessimistic tonight, TBT:(

  160. 160
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hervevillechaizelounge: The Russian trolls and bots have already fed the false narrative on social media that there was an attack on oil pipelines in New Orleans conducted by terrorists. There was no attack and no terrorists.

  161. 161
    SectionH says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Oh timing… but I think Max is mostly north, and a bit east of the current problem. It weirds me out too, directionally, but Hawaii (the single island) is the most recent island created by the hot spot which created/is creating the islands. Maui is the next youngest, but whatever, look at a map. Vog does sometimes get as far as Maui, but generally only places like maybe Kaupo who really notice it.

  162. 162
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    Platonailedit:

    West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar to mimic his style.

    So who are the poor schlubs that didn’t get the memo?

  163. 163
    SectionH says:

    @SectionH: No, West.

    You’re right about that, Bill. never mind NotMax probably knowing E-W. But he’s still off-set more North, relatively. I did try (twice) to edit above post, but FYWP srsly hates me tonight.

  164. 164

    @SectionH: Maui’s northwest of the Big Island.

  165. 165
    SectionH says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Yes, Max is north. I think I’ve been saying that. It was the E-W offset I was wrong about.

  166. 166

    @SectionH: Go forth and sin no more. //

  167. 167
    SgrAstar says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: the uploading of those sound files is gonna set a new record for inanity, utterly smashing Prince Charles’ tampon tapes of yore. Please make it happen, trickster gods.

  168. 168
  169. 169
  170. 170
    rikyrah says:

    The President of the United States does not use a secure phone.
    HE.DOES.NOT.USE.A.SECURE.PHONE.

    DA PHUQ?

  171. 171
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Adam L Silverman: IOW Lord Dampnut is every foreign power’s agent.

  172. 172
    boatboy_srq says:

    @rikyrah: No wire, so no wiretap.

    ….what?

  173. 173
    ottercliff says:

    Makes sense. Most Playboy bunnies, mafioso, hackers & money launderers don’t have secure phones to take the call on.

  174. 174
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Trump has resisted their entreaties, telling them it was “too inconvenient,”

    I am trying to imagine Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, getting away with ignoring simple security protocols especially for the reason of being a lazy and ignorant dumbass.

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