Politics: Trump's iPhone reportedly being tapped by Chinese spies and is being used to influence his business associates

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Trump on phone

Chinese spies are believed to have discovered who Trump regularly speaks to, and is part of a wider lobbying effort to influence Trump's friends and business associates.

  • Frustrated current and former US officials warned that President Donald Trump's personal Apple iPhone is being monitored by Chinese spies, according to The New York Times.
  • Chinese spies are believed to have discovered who Trump regularly speaks to and was part of a wider lobbying effort to influence Trump's friends and business associates.
  • Trump reportedly has two iPhones that the National Security Agency programmed for official use, but he is known to keep a third, personal phone that remains unaltered.
  • One of the two official phones is designated for calls. The other one is for Twitter.

Frustrated current and former US officials warned that President Donald Trump's personal Apple iPhones is being monitored by Chinese spies, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.

Trump reportedly has two iPhones that were programmed by the National Security Agency for official use, but he keeps a third, personal phone that remains unaltered — much like the normal iPhones on the consumer market, according to the officials.

Unlike the other government-managed phones, Trump uses the unaltered personal iPhone because of its ability to store contacts, The Times reported. One of the two official phones is designated for making calls, the other one is for Twitter.

The information Chinese spies have collected included who Trump regularly speaks to and why, The Times said, and was part of a wider lobbying effort to influence Trump's friends and business associates. US intelligence agencies discovered the espionage campaign from sources in foreign governments and communications from foreign officials.

Through its efforts, China reportedly identified Blackstone Group chief executive Stephen Schwarzman, who has ties to Beijing's Tsinghua University, and former Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn as potential targets in an influence campaign to curb the ongoing trade war with China.

China's plan included targeting and encouraging Trump's associates to persuade the president to formally meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, one official said to The Times.

Despite the security compromise, current and former officials reportedly cited Trump's unfamiliarity in matters of intelligence and said they believe he was not divulging sensitive information through his personal phone.

The White House's communication methods have long been scrutinized by people familiar with the situation. Much to the chagrin of the officials, Trump is believed to quietly make calls to current and former aides. Separately, the White House chief of staff John Kelly's phone was reportedly compromised for months in 2017.

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