Donald Trump’s administration is being accused of jeopardizing national security after a string of high-profile controversies over its handling of sensitive information, with Democrats and independent experts accusing the president of risking new leaks and cyberattacks.
Complaints over Trump’s security practices have piled up since the start of his presidency, with the furor peaking Saturday when Trump took a phone call about a North Korean missile test while sitting in full view of the guests at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Trump staffers later that night pored over government documents with cellphone flashlights, a potential security risk as the mobile devices can be hacked to transmit video and images to prying eyes.
And a Mar-a-Lago visitor posted a photo — later deleted — to Facebook that featured and gave a first name for a U.S. military official responsible for holding the black bag containing the country’s nuclear launch codes.
Before this weekend, critics were already raising red flags over Trump tweeting via what’s reportedly an unsecured Android cellphone, a habit that could potentially expose the president to personal tracking — which could even determine where he physically is in a building — or give hackers an entry point into other parts of his phone.
And last week, Trump left a “lockbag” — a secure pouch for transferring intergovernment information that requires restricted access but don’t meet the threshold for classified material — with the key in it sitting on his desk as the press snapped photos of him.
Democrats say Trump has made a series of security missteps, including working on a national security issue Saturday night in plain public view: “This is mind-bogglingly irresponsible,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a senior member of the Intelligence Committee. “Trump threatens national security by letting anyone who pays to get into his club photograph sensitive deliberations.”