Trump’s dinner with Japan’s PM was an intelligence security nightmare

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In just one dinner service at his Mar-a-Lago club, President Donald Trump managed to blunder through the basics of national security, making Hillary Clinton's private email server scandal look like an etiquette faux pas. 

During dinner, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received news that North Korea had conducted ballistic missile tests, and Trump didn't bother to keep things hush hush. According to CNN, nearby diners were able to tell the news network — in detail — Trump's plans for response.

According to CNN, despite "a flurry of advisers and translators ... carrying papers and phones for their bosses to consult," dinner continued as usual, with Trump and Abe consulting with aides as "waiters cleared the wedge salads and brought along the main course."

But of course that's not all they got. For the low, low cost of a $200,000 Mar-a-Lago membership fee, diners were able to snap photos of the president as he discussed classified information. Richard DeAgazio, who the Washington Post reported is a retired investor (and who bears a remarkable resemblance to a Richard DeAgazio on IMDB, whose page page touts roles like "Wedding Guest" in such films as My Bestfriend's GirlfriendBride Wars and That's My Boy), was dining at the private resort where he took multiple photos of the president, Trump's entourage and the Japanese prime minster — including one of DeAgazio smiling with the Secret Service agent assigned to carry the president's nuclear codes and another with Steve Bannon.

DeAgazio – who likely does not have the security clearance to access this information – was more than happy to explain in the now-deleted Facebook posts what the nuclear football is, alongside a play-by-play of events in comments on some of his now-private photos.

In one particularly stunning photo DeAgazio posted, aides light up documents for the president and the Japanese prime minister to read:

Journalist John Cook noted that this move flies in the face of all logic involved in keeping information secure. In response to DeAgazio's posts, Cook tweeted, "We used to put our phones in fridges to talk about Snowden documents at the Intercept." 

As the New York Times reported, when Edward Snowden was leaking information he stole from the NSA, he asked reporters to put their phones in a refrigerator to thwart any hacking efforts. 

And according to the Washington Post, "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." 

But it seems this administration is in for a penny, in for a pound when it comes to flubbing on national security: Once you start having classified national security strategy sessions in the middle of dinnertime surrounded by rich strangers, you might as well point your phone's easily hackable camera, located right next to your phone's flashlight, at classified documents and have a phone call on another likely unsecured cell phone while those rich strangers snap photos and post what you're talking about on their public social media account.

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Talia Jane

Talia Jane is probably a human and definitely a writer covering trending and breaking news. Find her on Twitter at @itsa_talia

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