- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Security concerns spurred by President Trump’s purported use of an unsecured, personal smartphone are raised in a recent letter from two Democratic senators to newly confirmed Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Claire McCaskill of Missouri have given the Pentagon until March 9 to explain how its security experts are safeguarding Mr. Trump’s smartphone from hackers, according to the contents of a letter dated Feb. 9 but not made public until Monday.

“Did Trump receive a secured, encrypted smartphone for his personal use on or before Jan. 20? If so, is he using it?,” Mr. Carper wrote on Twitter this week. “Trump should be well aware by now of the appropriate and necessary protocol to safeguard our nation’s secrets.”

The senators’ letter to Mr. Mattis, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, makes note of recent news reports that suggest the president has continued to use an “old, unsecured Android phone” for personal communications despite being given a “secure, encrypted device approved by the U.S. Secret Service” shortly before taking office.

“These reports are very troubling because security risks associated with the use of an unsecured phone include hackers’ ability to access the device to turn on audio recording and camera features, as well as engaging surveillance tools that allow location and other information tracking features,” the senators wrote.

“While it is important for the President to have the ability to communicate electronically, it is equally important that he does so in a manner that is secure and that ensures the preservation of presidential records,” they added.

Specifically the senators asked the Pentagon to confirm whether Mr. Trump was given a secure, encrypted smartphone for personal use, as well as what type of device he’s used since taking office last month. Additionally they’ve requested details on the precise steps it plans to take to ensure the president’s personal smartphone remains secure, as well as any intra-agency conversations that took place during the course of developing those measures.

Furthermore, the senators asked Mr. Mattis to explain if the Pentagon consulted with the National Archives and Records Administration “to ensure that all security measures allow for the preservation of any presidential records created through President Trump’s use of the device, in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.”

“The National Archives and Records Administration considers President Trump’s tweets to be records that must be adequately documented, preserved, and maintained for historic purposes, as required by the Presidential Records Act,” their letter states.

As noted by CNN, however, at least a half-dozen tweets sent from the president’s @realDonaldTrump account since taking office were later deleted without explanation.

Publicly available Twitter data suggest an Android device was used Tuesday morning when the president’s account account posted: “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”

Twitter data indicates an Apple iPhone was used Monday evening, meanwhile, when the account posted a congratulatory tweet to newly confirmed Veteran Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin.

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