Trump says he ‘knows a lot about hacking’ and doesn't trust computers
US president-elect Donald Trump says that “no computer is safe” when it comes to keeping information private, expressing new scepticism about the security of online communications his administration is likely to use for everything from day-to-day planning to international relations.
Trump rarely uses email or computers despite his frequent tweeting.
“You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way. Because I’ll tell you what: No computer is safe,” Trump told reporters during his annual New Year’s Eve bash. “I don’t care what they say.”
Trump has repeatedly cast aside allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia tried to influence the presidential election through hacking. President Barack Obama last week ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the US said were really spies. The Russian government has denied the allegations.
Trump, who has said that he plans to meet with intelligence officials this week to learn more about the allegations, said he wants US officials “to be sure because it’s a pretty serious charge”. He pointed to intelligence failures over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the US invasion, and declared himself an expert in the area.
“I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else,” he said.
He added, cryptically, that he also knows “things that other people don’t know. And so they cannot be sure of the situation.”
Asked what he knew that others did not, Trump said, “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
Trump was also asked how important cybersecurity would be to his administration after he takes power on January 20.
Trump said: “It’s very important. If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old fashioned way because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe.”
Trump’s comments come after he waxed lyrical about the impact of computing technology last Wednesday.
“I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly,” he said.
“The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.
“We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind the security we need.”
Trump’s annual New Year’s Eve bash was held at his Mar-a-Lago club. Hundreds of guests gathered in the club’s grand ballroom, including action star Sylvester Stallone and romance novel model Fabio. Reporters were invited to watch as guests arrived.
Earlier in the day, Trump ditched his press pool, travelling to play golf at one of his clubs without a pool of journalists on hand to ensure the public has knowledge of his whereabouts.
— David Oscar Markus (@domarkus) December 31, 2016
Proud to stand With President elect Trump, this is a gracious man, and he will make America Great Again in 2017 pic.twitter.com/GH8SrpyH35
— Dr. Eric Kaplan (@drekaplan) December 31, 2016
A member of Trump’s golf club in Jupiter, Florida, posted a photo on Twitter of Trump on the greens Saturday morning and said about 25 US Secret Service agents accompanied the president-elect. Reporters had not been advised of the visit to the club.
Transition aide Stephanie Grisham confirmed that Trump had made a “last-minute trip” to Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, which is about a half-hour drive from Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has been spending the holidays. He returned to the estate at midafternoon.
Before he went golfing Saturday, Trump tweeted an unusual New Year’s message to friends and foes: “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
With the arrival of 2017, another New Year’s message moved on Trump’s Twitter account at about midnight.
This one was decidedly more upbeat and carefully prepared — illustrated with a photo that included his holiday message next to it, including a hashtag and abbreviation referring to his campaign slogan: Make America Great Again.
“To all Americans- HappyNewYear & many blessings to you all! Looking forward to a wonderful & prosperous 2017 as we work together to #MAGA.”
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse