- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 18, 2017

President Trump’s purportedly lax security practices are the subject of a letter sent from more than a dozen congressional Democrats this week to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, urged committee leadership this week to investigate “troubling reports” that have emerged recently with respect to Mr. Trump’s operational security, including his apparent use of a consumer-grade Android smartphone to communicate over Twitter, among other items of concerns.

Those reports, according to Mr. Lieu and 14 colleagues, suggest Mr. Trump “is jeopardizing national security by egregiously failing to implement commonsense security measures across the board.”

“Cybersecurity experts universally agree that an ordinary Android smartphone, which the President is reportedly using despite repeated warnings from the Secret Service, can be easily hacked,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to committee leadership sent on Wednesday this week and made public two days later.

“This behavior is more than bad operational security — it is an egregious affront to national security,” they wrote to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, and ranking member Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat.

The congressmen want the Committee to hold public hearings devoted partially to the president’s smartphone usage and the security risks therein, according to the letter, the likes of which have already made waves across Washington since Mr. Trump took office last month.

In addition to concerns surrounding Mr. Trump’s smartphone usage, the lawmakers write that administration officials have been documented discussing national security issues in public settings and using private email accounts for official business, among other insecure practices. In light of Mr. Trump’s frequent tweets, however, the Democrats warn that Mr. Trump’s smartphone is a particularly deserving of a congressional probe.

“The use of an unsecured phone risks the President of the United States being monitored by foreign or domestic adversaries, many of whom would be happy to hijack the President’s prized Twitter account causing disastrous consequences for global stability,” they wrote. “More frighteningly, hackers could present the President with alternative information, which, as the President has repeatedly demonstrated, can have a huge impact on his beliefs and actions.”

“It is out hope that you can put our national security and the American people first and seriously investigate these concerns in a public hearing. Our country depends on it,” their letter said.

Mr. Chaffetz, meanwhile, already expressed concerns of his own this week over Mr. Trump’s security practices. The Republican wrote the White House on Tuesday demanding answers involving the security protocols in place at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida after it emerged that Mr. Trump and the Prime Minister of Japan discussed national security issues in the presence of the public last week.

Another letter sent this month to the Pentagon by Senate Democrats asked the Defense Department to explain how it is safeguarding Mr. Trump’s smartphone from hackers.

“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,” Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Claire McCaskill of Missouri wrote in a February 9 letter to the Pentagon.

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