Trump's Bodyguard Also Too Very Good At Leaking Everybody's Secrets!
I want YOU to stop being a national embarrassment
After the news that Donald Trump gave super-sensitive intelligence information to his Russian visitors just for the sake of bragging, here's another little parable about how the Trump administration seems to treat sensitive information: Like casual stuff you'd just jot down on a Post-It note. That's not a metaphor. That's how they actually do it.
The Washington Post got a call from a reader saying that a photo they'd published to illustrate a piece about Keith Schiller, Donald Trump's bodyguard who likes to rough people up, had included the personal phone number for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The reporter who took the call, Rachel Manteuffel, was skeptical, but the caller was insistent:
The bodyguard was holding a stack of papers, and, according to the caller, on the outside of those papers was a yellow sticky note that said “Jim, Mad Dog, Mattis” and had a phone number.
Manteuffel explains she doubted this could really happen, because come on, wouldn't the Secret Service nip that sort of nonsense in the bud? But she pulled up the picture and checked it out anyway:
So I thanked the guy for the call and dubiously pulled up the photo in question. With the monitor turned 90 degrees and the photo blown up, indeed, I could make out a number and what might be “Jim, Mad Dog, Mattis,” if you have better eyesight than mine even when I squint.
I called. I got the voice mail. It was him.
We're only slightly more surprised to learn Schiller "[employs] the yellow sticky note system of information security" than we are to see he uses punctuation like a college intern. At least interns are trainable. Manteuffel says she "got the tingly sensation that means someone important should know this and told my co-worker Anna and then my boss and one of the reporters who wrote the article." Happily, the Washington Post is more careful about protecting secrets than Team Trump is, so they changed the picture that ran with the article, and now Rachel Manteuffel is left feeling a little queasy about how the White House handles sensitive information, and unsure what will happen in the executive branch, "other than getting the secretary of defense a new phone number." She also thanks the reader for being sharp-eyed enough to notice the screwup before the Russians -- "As far as we know."
And there's just one more little reminder, that, as Manteuffel ends her piece, "Nothing. Is. Normal."
Or, once more with feeling, "Well, That Probably Could Have Gone Better."
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