The military sysadmins in charge of Trump's cellphones can't get him to give up wildly insecure practices

The White House Communications Agency, staffed with military information security experts, is in charge of making sure that the President's cellular phone isn't getting hacked by adversaries who might otherwise be able to listen in on his calls, capture his messages, intercept his search history, and remotely operate his camera and microphone. Donald Trump routinely ignores their advice.

According to multiple internal sources who talked to a team from Politico, Trump feels that the security advice he's received is "too inconvenient" and so he's decided that he knows enough about "the cyber" to just wing it.

Trump refuses to use hardened, secure cellphones. Instead, he uses regular, consumer, off-the-shelf phones (one from Apple and the other from Samsung) and routinely refuses to allow his security staff to inspect them to determine whether they have been compromised (according to one source, the President once made his staffers wait five months to inspect his phone).

Trump also refuses to make secure phone calls using the WHCA's internal switchboard process because he likes to call people (possibly Sean Hannity) late at night from his lonely bedroom, which his wife refuses to share with him.

It is undoubtedly true that foreign adversaries continuously seek to hack the communications of the White House and the President; Michael Kelly's cellular phone was already hacked during the transition (Kelly ignored security advice to get rid of the hacked device and continued to use it for several months before finally giving it up) (because he is a dumbass).

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 preloaded 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.

‘Too inconvenient’: Trump goes rogue on phone security [Eliana Johnson, Emily Stephenson and Daniel Lippman/Politico]

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