Monday, February 13th, 2017

24 days since the National Day of Patriotic Devotion

(Evening Edition)

“President Trump and his top aides coordinated their response to North Korea’s missile test on Saturday night in full view of diners at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida – a remarkable, public display of presidential activity that is almost always conducted in highly secure settings. The scene … was captured by a club member dining not far away and published in pictures on his Facebook account … Shortly before Richard DeAgazio, a new member of Mr. Trump’s club, snapped the pictures, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its eastern coast.

“HOLY MOLY !!! It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan,” Mr. DeAgazio wrote later on Facebook, describing how the two leaders “conferred and then went into another room for hastily arranged press conference … Wow…..the center of the action!!!” The New York Times 13 February 2017

“Richard DeAgazio … did the current president no favors with his fanboy posts from Mar-a-Lago this weekend in a public dining room as the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and the president of the United States scrambled to respond to a North Korean ballistic missile test. It was a remarkable display on Mr. Trump’s part of a lack of concern for prying eyes and security awareness. Mr. DeAgazio also posed with the service member who carries the nuclear launch codes for the president.” The New York Times, 13 February 2017

“[T]he photos appear to corroborate an important detail from the CNN report. “The patio was lit only with candles and moonlight, so aides used the camera lights on their phones to help the stone-faced Trump and Abe read through the documents,” Liptak writes. In DeAgazio’s first photo, you can see a phone flashlight being used in that way.

Why is this important? Mobile phones have flashlights, yes – and cameras, microphones and Internet connectivity. When Edward Snowden was meeting with reporters in Hong Kong at the moment he was leaking the material he’d stolen from the NSA, he famously asked that they place their phones in the refrigerator – blocking any radio signals in the event that the visitors’ phones had been hacked. This was considered the most secure way of ensuring that the phones couldn’t be used as wiretaps, even more secure than removing the battery. Phones – especially phones with their flashes turned on for improved visibility – are portable television satellite trucks and, if compromised, can be used to get a great deal of information about what’s happening nearby, unless precautions are taken.

“Precautions weren’t taken. One of DeAgazio’s photos shows Trump using a phone at the table, within view of other diners (and while sitting next to a foreign leader). It’s not clear what phone Trump is using in that picture, but it’s known that he uses a relatively old Android device, even while serving as president. As we noted last week, Trump generally uses that device when he’s not in the middle of a work day. Shortly before the dinner with Abe, he tweeted from it. The Washington Post 13 February 2017

“Trump and Abe turned their dinner table into an open-air situation room. Aides and translators surrounded the two leaders as other diners chatted and gawked around them, with staffers using the flashlights on their cellphones to illuminate documents on the darkened outdoor terrace.” The Washington Post, 13 February 2017

“Flynn’s possible talk of sanctions – and the fact that he likely misled Vice President Mike Pence about his talks – created a turbulent 72 hours for the White House, leading many to speculate that Trump’s national security adviser could be asked to leave three weeks into his tenure. But Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, said that was not the case. “Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the President,” Conway said on MSNBC. She later declined to detail how much the President knew about the issue and when he knew it, deeming those conversation private.” CNN, 13 February 2017

“Michael Flynn has … delivered his resignation to … President Donald Trump … Flynn resigned late Monday. At issue was Flynn’s contact with Moscow’s ambassador to the United States. Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak appear to have discussed U.S. sanctions late last year, raising questions about whether he was freelancing on foreign policy while President Barack Obama was still in office and whether he misled Trump officials about the calls.” The Associated Press, 13 February 2017

“Americans believe the world at large sees the U.S. more unfavorably (57%) than favorably (42%), their worst assessment of the country’s image in 10 years. A year ago, Americans’ perceptions were more positive than negative. Fewer than three in 10 Americans (29%) say leaders of other countries have respect for the new president, with 67% saying world leaders do not have much respect for him. Gallup, 10 February 2017

 

NDofPD Plus 24 | 12:01 am CST
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