According to three U.S. government officials, the White House Chief of Staff’s phone may have been compromised as far back as December 2016.
Kelly complained that his personal cell phone had not been working properly for months, but the potential breach was not discovered until he gave his phone to White House technical support this summer. A memo has been circulated detailing the event, and Kelly is reportedly no longer in possession of the device. It is unclear when it may have first been compromised.
A spokesperson for the White House maintained that the former U.S. Marine general had used his government-issued phone rather than his personal one for government affairs and has already switched to a new device to replace the one being investigated. Kelly’s travel schedule prior to his appointment as White House Chief of Staff is now under review in hopes of gaining a lead on where the breach might have occurred.
This is another potential security breach in an administration already being forced to investigate misuse of a private e-mail domain for government communications by President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, as well as her husband Jared Kushner. The e-mails in question, according to Politico, include “nonpublic travel documents, internal schedules and some official White House materials,” many of them sent by Ivanka herself.
In response, MSNBC claims that the Secret Service will ban all personal cell phones and mobile devices from use in the West Wing. All such “smart” devices must be turned off and placed inside a lockbox before entering.
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