Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols.
Those fake spying cell towers in Washington DC? Ex-intel staffers claim they're Israeli
The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top Department of Homeland Security official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May to Sen. Ron Wyden D-Ore. Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.
After this story was published, Trump told reporters that he would find it "hard to believe" that the Israelis had placed the devices. Anything is possible but I don't believe it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also denied after publication that Israel was behind the devices. It [the report] is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication.
US reviews use of cellphone spying technology | CSO Online
But former officials with deep experience dealing with intelligence matters scoff at the Israeli claim — a pro forma denial Israeli officials are also known to make in private to skeptical U. One former senior intelligence official noted that after the FBI and other agencies concluded that the Israelis were most likely responsible for the devices, the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government.
Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials — prized information for any intelligence service — foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani.
So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government — such as moving the U. Embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions — Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.
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While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U. A recent report by the Department of Homeland Security called the spy devices a real and growing risk. The I-Team got picked up twice while driving along K Street — the corridor popular with lobbyists. Every cellphone has a unique identifying number. The phone catcher technology can harness thousands of them at a time. DHS has warned rogue devices could prevent connected phones from making calls, saying, "If this type of attack occurs during an emergency, it could prevent victims from receiving assistance.
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That's a worry," said D. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, adding that the spy technology should be a concern for all who live and work in the District. The I-Team's test phones detected 40 potential locations where the spy devices could be operating, while driving around for just a few hours.
Especially in her ward, where many of the streets are lined with embassies. The phones appeared to remain connected to a fake tower the longest, right near the Russian Embassy.
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All of those countries have the phone catcher technology, Turner said. The spy technology poses a risk to national and economic security, but there's little our government can do to stop devices located on foreign soil. The phone catchers can also be combined with other technology to listen-in or grab data from phones that are connected, Turner said. Particularly since DHS hasn't disclosed how many devices it found or where. The agency also said it did not determine who was operating them, which Butler finds unacceptable.
Turner said cell carriers can't completely secure our phones because they have to allow for law enforcement access.
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