Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

Two dozen House Democrats have sent a letter to White House counsel Donald McGahn, warning that digital security holes at the Trump Organization’s clubs and hotels are risks to national security and the secrecy of classified information.

“The White House must act immediately to secure the potentially sensitive information on these systems,” said the letter, which was signed by 24 Congress members and went to McGahn last week.

Their concerns were in response to an article published last month by ProPublica and Gizmodo that documented the cybersecurity vulnerabilities at properties the president has frequented since being elected. Our reporting found unencrypted login pages, servers running outdated software, accessible printers, and Wi-Fi networks that were open to anyone close enough to access them.

We were able to detect vulnerable networks at Mar-a-Lago — Trump’s “Southern White House” — from a small motorboat about 800 feet from the club on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. We also found open Wi-Fi networks at the grounds of the Trump golf courses in Bedminster, New Jersey, and accessible Wi-Fi-enabled printers at Trump’s course in Sterling, Virginia.

“To leave these networks unsecured undermines our national priorities and the trust the American people place in the Office of the President,” the letter warned.

The White House and the Trump Organization did not comment on the letter.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the letter’s author, said the vulnerabilities revealed by our story demand immediate action, but he’s received no response from the administration so far. “It needs to be addressed quickly. Potentially every minute something is leaking,” he said. “It is too late to close the henhouse after the foxes come in.”

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has spent time at his clubs on most weekends and has met with foreign dignitaries like Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.

In February, members of Mar-a-Lago posted pictures of a dinner meeting between Trump and Abe on the patio of the club. Cybersecurity experts warned that sophisticated hackers could turn guests’ cellphones into clandestine listening devices if they gained access to the networks at the club.

Hackers may not need to travel to each of the Trump Organization’s clubs and hotels in order to gain access. We found that the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., was hosting a server running software that is more than a decade old and is still accessible from the internet.

After we notified the company that administers the Trump clubs’ websites about our findings, they disabled an insecure login page that lead to a database of sensitive information that we found on Mar-a-Lago’s website. However, the company, called Clubessential, has not locked down its customer documentation website, which includes usernames and passwords to internal accounts and is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

Clubessential did not respond to a request for comment.

“Cyber-criminals and nation states have both the incentive and the ability to hack these networks to obtain sensitive information critical to our national security and international diplomacy,” the Congress members’ letter said.

Since our visits to Trump’s properties in early May, the president has spent four weekends at his clubs.

“He’s the president of the United States,” Engel said. “We should make sure he’s secure wherever he is.”

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

  • Share this on Google+0
  • Share this on Linkedin0
  • Share this on Reddit0
  • Print this page
  • 16

10 responses to “Democratic Congress Members Raise Alarm About Security At Trump Properties”

  1. TZToronto says:

    Trump’s organization needs to be forced to upgrade cyber-security at all of its properties, and NONE of the cost should be passed on to America’s taxpayers. If the Trump Organization refuses to do the work to the government’s satisfaction, the job should be done by federal contractors and the bill passed on to Trump. And if the bill is not paid in full (no discounts, no negotiations), liens should be placed on all of Trump’s properties.

    • opinioned1 says:

      twitter dumb would just refuse to pay the bill..

      • TZToronto says:

        That’s the purpose of the liens. Sell his properties right out from under him if he refuses to pay.

        • opinioned1 says:

          With the clown being 71 and the time it would take to legally confiscate his property for what`s owed he would never see the result. One of his criminal kids might, but by then I would hope they are in jail for treason. Trump needs to see immediate results caused by his actions. The only thing this clown understands is the power of taking things away from him.

  2. bobnstuff says:

    Trump & Company doesn’t always think things through and this is just one small example. You would think that after the Clinton private server problem, which had up to date security Trumps people would be aware of the problems. Wouldn’t the press love having all the credit card data from the Trump properties, who spent how much when and where. How about the schedules of who is where and when. Those simple day to day records could be very bad for Trump & Company and their friends.

    • dpaano says:

      It’s almost tantamount to the same problem they ranted about with Hillary’s private server……in fact, it’s pretty much the SAME problem! Maybe we need to LOCK “EM UP!!!

  3. opinioned1 says:

    trumps security tells me there is none when I seen pictures of others reading national security papers setting at the dinner table in Florida. As a taxpayer I refuse to pay for all the countless upgrades to the various trump properties needed to insure secrecy. We have and pay for several properties where twitter dumb can vacation with out adding a dime to the cost. Use them and stop this clown from using us taxpayers as his personal GD piggy bank.

    • dpaano says:

      There’s always Camp David, but I’m not sure it has a golf course! This president, despite his many digs at President Obama for playing golf from time to time, has spent MORE time on the golf course in his first 6 months than President Obama spent in his entire 8 years! He promised his voters that he would be “staying in the White House” and not golfing as much…..just another lie that they bought!

      • opinioned1 says:

        Camp David is beneath his standards. There are no high back gold laced chairs for the clown to set in, and the staff there are government employees who don`t jump and run bowing to the clowns every whim. Just noticed today he`s making his first obligatory visit to Camp David and as long as taxpayers continue to pay for his trips to his profit centers, it will be his last.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.