Our biggest threat to national security could be lurking right in your kitchen. You look to your microwave to help you warm that Cup of Noodles, whip up shortcut green bean casserole, or create pourable fondant frosting, but according to the senior counselor to the President of the United States, the appliance could be used for a much more sinister purpose: espionage.
During an interview with The Bergen Record in NJ, Kellyanne Conway was asked whether she knew if Trump Tower had been wiretapped by the Obama administration – an allegation President Donald Trump made that has yet to be backed up by hard evidence. “What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately,” she replied. “There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets – any number of different ways – microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera.”
She deemed it “a fact of modern life,” and while it’s an easy leap to see how a phone or TV could be wired to spy on someone, particularly in the era of bluetooth-pairing, wifi-enabled everything, the concept of turning a microwave into a camera prompted many people to wonder, “um, what?” (And rightfully so, it seems: After investigating the ways a microwave oven could be hacked, Wired determined the kitchen staple couldn’t be used as such, unless you own a microphone-equipped, voice-activated one. Wired couldn’t find evidence of such a gadget on the market, however. Additional searches for the article Conway references have been fruitless so far.)
Conway’s statement quickly became headline news, prompting the counselor to clarify her statements both on Twitter and in an interview with CNN.
“I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she told CNN. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”
So, to be clear, she was citing it as an example of the ways household items could be used as surveillance devices – not as the answer to the question the reporter posed. Conway initially told CNN that The Bergen Record reporter had asked her about “surveillance generally,” but in the video of the interview – which you can watch here – you can see she’s asked directly: “Do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped?”
When the question came up again on CNN, she took a different approach, saying she’s “not in the job of having evidence … that’s what investigations are for.”
President Trump has asked Congress to investigate the wiretapping claims he made as part of its larger investigation as to whether Russia interfered in the presidential election, the New York Times reported. On Monday, March 13, the Department of Justice requested more time to collect evidence that would support the allegations against the Obama administration.
A spokesman for former President Barack Obama has denied the claims. So has James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.
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