- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The soccer ball that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to President Trump at their summit in Finland apparently contained a chip that can transmit information to nearby cell phones, according to a report.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that photos of the Adidas ball show a logo for a near-field communication tag, a chip that is included in the Adidas 2018 FIFA World Cup ball. Russia hosted the World Cup final just before Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump met in Helsinki.

Adidas AG soccer balls, similar to the one that Mr. Putin presented to Mr. Trump during their joint press conference last week, contain a small chip that can send content to mobile devices. Users can hold their phones close to the ball to access videos and competitions, according to Bloomberg.

Mr. Putin handed the red-and-white ball to Mr. Trump, noting that the U.S. will host the World Cup in 2026. The president then tossed the ball to first lady Melania Trump, who was seated in the first row at the press conference.

Mr. Trump said he’d give the ball to his 12-year-old son Barron, a soccer fan.

The Secret Service said last week that the ball was undergoing a routine security screening, a standard procedure for all gifts to the president.

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump’s next meeting with Putin to come next year, White House says

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats quipped last week that he’s sure the ball “has been looked at very carefully.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, tweeted that the ball should be checked for listening devices and “never allow it in the White House.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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