"Call me maybe" on my cellphone

According to the same sources, Trump urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to contact him directly on the cellphone. The French official, as per an Associated Press report, did not comment on whether Macron meant to use the line. That said, this recent development isn't surprising as much as it is disappointing: it appears that President Trump has been urging world leaders to call him directly on his personal cell phone. Traditionally, presidents call heads of state on secure phone lines, including those in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, and the presidential limousine. Even if Trump is using a government-issued cell phone, the conversations could be open to surveillance, security experts told the AP.

Social media users responded Tuesday to reports that President Trump gave out his cell phone number to foreign leaders, turning the story into a meme. "If someone is trying to spy on you, then everything you're saying, you have to presume that others are listening to it".

"Hillary Clinton's email server was like Fort Knox compared to Trump just carrying around a regular cellphone", said Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy chief technology officer for the Obama administration. But now it turns out that the president's preferred method of communication with other world leaders isn't sliding into DMs.

Trump's impromptu conversations with world leaders on a direct line, however, Tait wrote, would cut out the Department of State which works closely on bilateral relations, and potentially make "U.S. policy more dysfunctional and disjointed".

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There's no reason to expect that as soon as Trump scribbled out his phone number on a dirty napkin for a foreign leader, that same napkin wasn't immediately transferred to the country's intelligence agencies. The White House said at the time that Obama was permitted to keep his Blackberry through a compromise that allowed him to stay in touch with senior White House staffers and a small group of personal friends.

Trump has been in a tight spot when it comes to keeping his conversations with world leaders private. A fun fact: this act was passed in response to Watergate. The Secret Service is reported to have given the president a secure, encrypted cellphone before the inauguration.

The Associated Press took a scolding tone, suggesting that the president is endangering national security by having sensitive conversations over a mobile device.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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