Speak directly into the mic please

Holy shit. Trump was at din-dins with Abe at a public restaurant at Mar-a-fucking-Lago when they were told about North Korea’s latest missile-throw, and they discussed it right then and there. In public!

Sunday night, CNN reported details of the moment that Trump, joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, learned about a missile launch in North Korea. Trump and Abe were enjoying dinner at Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida at the time, but, CNN reported, began to discuss the details of this international incident right there at their table.

“As Mar-a-Lago’s wealthy members looked on from their tables, and with a keyboard player crooning in the background,” CNN’s Kevin Liptak reported, “Trump and Abe’s evening meal quickly morphed into a strategy session, the decision-making on full view to fellow diners, who described it in detail to CNN.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

It’s not clear that anyone heard particulars of the conversation, but other diners certainly noticed. Richard DeAgazio was in the room and posted photos of the moment to Facebook.

The post has now been made private; a screenshot is below.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 9.39.50 AM

Others who were there added their thoughts in the comments beneath the post. One wrote that he “was watching very close by. Had no idea what it was about.” That’s probably not the case for the waiters, who, CNN reports, “cleared the wedge salads and brought along the main course as Trump and Abe continued consulting with aides.”

Oh but it gets worse.

Notice, though, that the 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.

It’s a funny thing – I’m surprisingly familiar with that scenario. Just last month, when I was on the Monterey Peninsula taking care of Cooper while his humans were away, he and I took our evening walk past that scenario regularly. It’s a posh golf club with condos, and I like walking us up to the inn after dark – past the outdoor terraces that surround the restaurant, where there are fire pits and torches and people shivering in the wind off the Pacific. It’s not what you would call a secure place to discuss national security. Not even close.

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.

And guess what! His phone is almost certainly compromised!

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