Worried about iPhone eavesdroppers? China says Trump may need a Huawei

Arturo Kim
October 28, 2018

The New York Times cited USA officials as saying China had a sophisticated approach toward the intercepted presidential phone calls and was seeking to use them to determine what Trump thinks, whom he listens to and how best to sway him.

But the aides have said that the President, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones.

While China's recommendation of Huawei phones may have been tongue-in-cheek, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd has come under scrutiny in the United States.Intelligence agency leaders and others have said they are concerned that Huawei and other Chinese companies may be beholden to the Chinese government or ruling Communist Party, raising the risk of espionage.

Beijing quickly dismissed the allegations as "fake news" joked that the Trump should switch to a Chinese-branded phone.

"If they are still not at ease, then in order to have an entirely secure device, they can stop using all forms of modern communication devices and cut off all ties with the outside world".

The Chinese have pieced together a list of people whom Trump regularly speaks to in hopes of using them to influence the president, according to the report.

Past year national security advisers expressed concern over Trump's decision to hand over his personal cell phone number to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Pena Nieto.

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According to a report by the New York Times, Trump's associates have warned him repeatedly that his calls are not secure and that Russian spies are spying on them. She also referred to the report as "fake news", employing one of the president's favorite tactics to discredit the idea altogether.

The newspaper cited anonymous officials who said China and Russian Federation had listened in to Trump's frequent phone calls with friends and allies made over his iPhone, using the information gleaned to shape foreign policy.

Trump dismissed the report in a tweet Thursday morning, saying he only uses "government phones, and (has) only one seldom used government cell phone".

Officials said the President has two official iPhones that have been altered by the National Security Agency to limit their abilities and a third personal phone.

"We regret this newspaper unthinkingly publishes information which most likely indicates a decline in journalistic standards", he added.

Regarding her suggestion that Trump use a Huawei instead of an iPhone, this appears to be a sly reference to the USA government forbidding its agencies from using any technologies or services from the Chinese company.

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