Officials: Trump Has Been Giving Out His Private Number

Breach of protocol worries security experts
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 31, 2017 3:45 AM CDT
Trump Has Been Giving Other Leaders His Cellphone Number
President Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House.   (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump has been handing out his cellphone number to world leaders and urging them to call him directly, an unusual invitation that breaks diplomatic protocol and is raising concerns about the security and secrecy of the commander in chief's communications. Trump has urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to reach him on his cellphone, the AP reports, citing former and current US officials with direct knowledge of the practice. Of the two, only Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken advantage of the offer so far, the officials say. Trump also exchanged numbers with French President Emmanuel Macron when the two spoke immediately following Macron's victory earlier this month, according to a French official.

Presidents generally place calls on one of several secure phone lines, including those in the White House Situation Room, the Oval Office, or the presidential limousine. Even if Trump uses his government-issued cellphone, his calls are vulnerable to eavesdropping, particularly from foreign governments, national security experts say. "If you are speaking on an open line, then it's an open line, meaning those who have the ability to monitor those conversations are doing so," says Derek Chollet, a former Pentagon adviser and National Security Council official. The White House did not respond to questions on whether the president is keeping records of any informal calls with world leaders. (More President Trump stories.)

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