White House officials have taken it upon themselves to strictly restrict access to data from presidential phone calls that President Trump makes to world leaders.
The restrictions on who can access and listen to such calls have been in place for more than a year after the administration suffered a number of embarrassing leaks during calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
The concern was once so great that it led to the development of a & # 39; secret server & # 39; to which few would have access to store Trump's most sensitive communication.
Trump's assistants have made extraordinary efforts to strictly limit the number of people who have access to his conversations with foreign leaders
An unidentified whistleblower revealed concerns among White House officials about alleged attempts by the administration to "lock" access to internal information, including the July 2019 president's meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky , pictured left
According to the Wall Street Journal the server has been used to record conversations with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Russia and Ukraine, but White House officials also have the number of people who can listen in the conversations, or who have access to the records after the conversations are over significantly reduced.
Leaked phone calls involving the new president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto and the prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull in 2017, were considered extremely harmful by the government.
In the call to Mexico, Trump warned that he could send American troops to the & # 39; tough hombres & # 39; who control Mexican drug trafficking.
When he spoke to Australia, he lashed out at Turnbull when he spoke of a & # 39; stupid & # 39 ;, & # 39; disgusting & # 39; and & # 39; terrible & # 39; Refugee Agreement from the Obama era in which the US agreed to accommodate up to 1,250 refugees housed in detention camps on the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
White House officials are trying to restrict access to Trump's comments. The former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, can be seen, since then he has been replaced three times
Shortly thereafter, during a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump condemned the new START treaty that limits US and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the US – the conversation was leaked to the media again.
In May 2017, Trump met with Russian officials at the White House Oval Office, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then Ambassador to the American Sergey Kislyak.
Trump shared details about US efforts to fight the extremist Islamic state against the Russians. The details had to be classified at the time – but messages came out, which led to further limitations.
& # 39; If true, the reports that President Trump has told close associates of Putin that he did not mind that Russian involvement in the US elections was very harmful to both our national security and the integrity of our elections, & # 39; said Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. in a statement released on Saturday. & # 39; It is one of the most disturbing things we have learned so far. & # 39;
In a telephone conversation, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman never had access to a rough transcript of the conversation to people who would normally have received a conversation
President Donald Trump speaks through the speaker over the phone with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in the Oval Office
According to CNN in a telephone conversation with Saudi leader Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, access to a rough transcript of the conversation was never given to people who would normally be expected to receive one.
The call, in which no particularly sensitive information was discussed, came shortly after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who, according to US intelligence services, was executed by the Saudi government.
No transcription has been distributed at all to prevent leaks. Such a step is very unusual, especially after such a high-profile conversation.
In a conversation with Putin, access to the transcript of at least one of Trump & # 39; s conversations was again tightly restricted.
Such attempts to hide information about Trump's discussions with bin Salman and Putin show how long Trump assistants will go to limit the number of people who have access to his conversations with foreign leaders.
Last week, an unidentified whistleblower revealed concerns among White House officials about alleged attempts by the administration to "lock" access to internal information, including the president's meeting in July 2019 with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky .
The call claims that Trump asked Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.
After the telephone call was over, officials concealed the communication data by storing it on the national security computer server instead of the usual open system where such data would normally be stored.
Leaked phone calls in which the new president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto and the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, seen on the left, were seen as extremely harmful in 2017
The complaint claimed that handling Ukraine's call & # 39; not the first time & # 39; was that such measures had been taken solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive – rather than national security sensitive – information.
On Friday, the White House said that the record of the Trump-Zelensky call was added to the highly secure secret server under the direction of lawyers from the National Security Council.
The complaint alleges that White House officials were directed & # 39; to remove the electronic data from the computer system where such documents are normally stored & # 39; for coordination, completion and distribution to government level officials & # 39 ;.
The telephone conversation with Ukraine was & # 39; loaded in a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and process particularly sensitive classified information & # 39 ;.
The White House has not explained why it places certain heads of state in the secret server system, even if the content is not very classified.
It is known that presidents usually call on one of the different secured lines in the White House Situation Room, the Oval Office or the presidential limo.
A number of national security officers, including NSC and Situation Room staff, would listen during the calls.
Trump often receives notes from advisors to help him with the call and about what not say
Trump & # 39; s & # 39; shameful leaks & # 39;
Restrictions on access to and listening to phone calls from President Trump have been limited since the first week of his presidency after details of phone calls with leaders from Mexico and Australia leaked to the press.
January 27, 2017 A telephone conversation between Trump and Mexico & Pena Nieto was intended to resolve the issues between the new president and his ally after the two had a series of public spats about Trump's determination to make Mexico pay for the planned border wall .
& # 39; You have a bunch of bad hombres down there, & # 39; Trump said to Pena Nieto, & you're not doing enough to stop them. I think your army is scared. Our army is not, so maybe I can just send them down to arrange it. & # 39;
& # 39; You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with, and we are willing to help you with that big league, & # 39; he said.
Trump added, "Listen, I know how difficult these guys are – our army will take them out like you never imagined. We will work to help you knock out because your country does not want to. & # 39;
January 28, 2017 During a telephone conversation with Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia, Trump tried to untangle an Obama-era deal to resettle refugees currently being held on Manus Island and Nauru.
& # 39; This is going to kill me, & # 39; he said to Turnbull. & # 39; I am & # 39; The world's greatest person who doesn't want to let people into the country. & # 39;
He added: & # 39; This deal makes me look terrible. & # 39;
Under previous presidents, including Obama, the records would then be distributed to the relevant offices after the talks were closed.
But under Trump, the White House system seems to handle calls according to the Diary.
Much broader distribution lists were used during the first few months of administration, allowing more people to hear and read Trump & # 39; s conversations with foreign leaders. It eventually resulted in more leaks.
But following the leaks related to Australia and Mexico, the National Security Council has severely cut back & # 39; on the number of people receiving the records and decides to send them only to people who are directly involved in issues discussed in the call.
When H.R. McMaster took over Mr. Trump's second National Security Advisor, the distribution list became even smaller, with officials receiving the information in the calls on a need-to-know basis. Access to all others was blocked.
Apart from the phone calls from the president to known world leaders, there is also concern about the calls the president has made with foreign leaders on his own mobile.
The president regularly issued his personal mobile phone number to various world leaders, including the heads of Mexico, Canada and France, and urged them to call him directly.
Such a step breaks the diplomatic protocol and, according to people with direct knowledge, raises concerns about the security and confidentiality of his communication.
It was a steep learning curve for Trump who would all too easily share sensitive information with world leaders.
On several occasions, John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, muted the line while Trump was calling so he could tell him not to talk about certain topics.
Other advisers would even pass on the President's notes during a telephone conversation and advise on what to say or what not mention.
A former senior administration official said that while the president's advisers had made every effort to manage the president's discussions with world leaders: & once he is in residence, we never know who he has it. & # 39;
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