According to a new report, shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, White House officials were briefed by the National Security Agency on the proper usage of private emails, cellphones, and anything outside of official accounts.
Jared Kushner was in on that briefing, but he must have been napping.
That, or because of his relationship to the new president, he felt the warnings were for underlings.
The NSA told administration officials that cyberspies might be using advanced malware to transform personal cellphones into covert listening devices, to take photos and video unbeknownst to the owner, and to transfer data from Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth.
As a result, officials were informed that they should expect that foreign cyberspies had already entered their personal email systems to a certain extent and used that access to absorb everything from their computers, phones and those of their contacts. Additionally, they were told that use of personal devices for work, including sending files and emails from one system to another, could allow cyberspies access to their work computers and emails as well.
The fear is that nations like Russia, Iran, or China could take advantage of those private accounts and wreak havoc.
To be clear, it’s not illegal for a White House official to have and use a private email account, but if anything work-related comes to that account, they’re to forward it to their official account, in order to keep a record of all correspondence.
Kushner’s closeness to the president and the myriad issues he’s been tasked with completing makes him a prime target.
“Jared is probably one of the top five or 10 targets in the U.S. government because of his access to the president and because of the portfolios he’s been given,” said Richard Clarke, a former top cybersecurity advisor to three presidents told Politico. “It’s a pretty safe bet that his personal devices have been compromised by foreign intelligence services. And therefore there is some risk that meetings he attends are compromised too.”
And now the White House is doing its own internal investigation into the use of private emails, to determine if there were any serious breaches of protocol.
Kind of the fox watching the henhouse, but, whatever.
Former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Steve Bannon have also used private emails accounts to share White House business.
It sounds like nobody was paying attention during that NSA briefing.