When Gordon Sondland called Trump from Kyiv to update him on the shakedown of Ukraine for a Biden investigation, the Russians heard it all.
A U.S. ambassador’s cellphone call to President Trump from a restaurant in the capital of Ukraine last summer was a stunning breach of security, exposing the conversation to surveillance by foreign intelligence services, including Russia’s, former U.S. officials said.
Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior administration officials’ communications. “It’s indicative of a lack of concern for operational security,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being accused of making statements motivated by political bias. Senior officials, he said, “are routinely briefed on the threats to their communications. You could assume that talking on an unencrypted line from a foreign country would be on that list.”
t is also dangerous for a president to take an off-the-books call like that, Pfeiffer said. That is why call logs are kept, he said. Without them, someone could assert that the president said something on a call, and a log “protects the president’s ability to deny something happened,” he said.
Since the call was to Trump’s unsecured cell phone, it is off the books, that is, not included in the official White House call log.
Trump has refused to follow cell phone security protocols, which means that his calls from his phone are being listened to by governments all around the world.
It is not surprising that a person who got their ambassador post by donating one million dollars to Trump would openly violate security rules. Old rich guy entitlement at the expense of the country is the defining characteristic of the Trump administration.
Not only was Trump overheard asking for an update on the Ukraine scheme, but the call itself was a jaw-dropping compromise of security.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association