Jared Kushner's alleged use of WhatsApp to talk about White House affairs with foreign governments was dangerous, warned an expert in cybersecurity and intelligence, as it left him exposed to espionage.
As President Donald Trump's son-in-law and foreign policy advisor to the White House, Kushner has an influence on key decisions, such as politics in the Middle East, and frequently speaks with world leaders on behalf of the United States. 'administration.
Ivanka Trump, the President's eldest daughter, White House counselor and wife of Kushner, also used a personal e-mail account for her official affairs, although she is primarily logistical and has changed government account when ethical concerns have been raised.
During a discussion on Kushner WhatsApp news on the MSNBC website The 11th hour, Clint Watts, former FBI special agent and cybersecurity expert, told a story in The New York Times about "Internet mercenaries" selling their hacking skills to foreign governments.
Watts said The 11th hour that these private security companies were now targeting people "in their communications at the point of origin – on the phone".
"That's what we're talking about now, it's not about interceptions along the way, it's businesses that now have the capability – and this is well known in cybersecurity circles," he says. hear about it all the time – to target anyone's phone and the opportunity to take advantage of those communications – we can not have that. "
Watts, a senior member of the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, has made a comparison with the Trump campaign's attacks on the use by private Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of A private server for its official emails.
Shortly before the 2016 elections, James Comey, then director of the FBI, had declared, at the conclusion of an investigation into the use by Clinton of a private mail server, that no criminal charge would be retained against him.
But he went on to say that she and her collaborators had been extremely careless, as some of the tens of thousands of emails sent through the server contained classified information. Some personal emails sent before 2014 have been deleted. Comey said that there was no evidence of concealment.
"We've heard emails, lock it, emails, lock it," Watts told MSNBC. "For me [Kushner’s alleged use of WhatsApp] is much more obvious. These are commercial interactions with foreign companies and, by the way, they are blocked by other parts of the US government. This means that foreign leaders better understand what the White House is communicating than our own intelligence community, our own forces of law and our own allies.
"This puts us in a very dangerous position because as an executive or legislative, we really do not know what is happening at the top. And we have no control over that. "
House Watch Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, sent Thursday a letter to White House lawyer Pat Cipollone, alleging that Kushner had "used – and continues to". use – WhatsApp as part of his official duties at the White House. "
Cummings said that Father Lowell, Kushner's attorney, had revealed this information in December, including the use of WhatsApp by Kushner to talk to foreign leaders.
Lowell stated that his client was complying with document retention laws because he had sent screenshots of his conversations to his White House email account, although he did not know if Kushner had sent classified information via WhatsApp.
Lowell challenged some of Cummings' claims in a later letter, published by politico. He denied stating that Kushner had used WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders and ordered the president to contact the White House Council for such questions.
A spokesman for Lowell did not respond immediately to Newsweekrequest for comments.