Washington, Oct 25: Chinese spies often listen in on US President Donald Trump when he uses his unsecure Mobile to gossip with old friends, and Beijing uses what it learns to try to shake US policy, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing current and former US officials.
President Trump s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure and that Russian spies routinely spy on the conversations, but they say the president still refuses to give up his cellular phones, the Times reported.
The officials said US spy agencies had learned from people in foreign governments and by deflecting communications from foreign officials that China and Russia were listening to the president s calls.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the Times report.
China has a refined approach towards the intercepted calls and is seeking to use them to actuate what Donald Trump thinks, whom he listens to and how best to sway him, the Times reported, cited the officials.
Beijing particularly is trying to use what it learns to prevent the current trade war between the two countries from mounting further, according to the media.
Chinese officials depend on Chinese businessmen and others with ties to Beijing to feed arguments and direction to Trump s friends in an effort to influence him.
Concerns have been raised on several occasions this year about cellphone surveillance activity in the Washington area. The Department of Homeland Security said in a letter to several senators in March that it had observed activity in Washington consistent with mobile subscriber identity catchers.
An FCC commissioner said at a meeting the issue was serious and the surveillance tools could be used by criminals or foreign actors.
The Washington Post reported in June that a federal study found signs of sophisticated cellphone spying near the White House and other sensitive locations last year.