The above photo shows President Donald Trump as Mr. Trump met with Russian government officials. The fact that the photo is credited to a photographer from the Russian Foreign Ministry whilst no U.S. photographers were present or allowed in the Oval Office is raising alarms online. So much so, Twitter reports "Oval Office" and "Oval Office bugged" as popular search terms.
According to CNN, Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak -- who can be seen as the fourth person from the right in the above photo -- is viewed by U.S. intelligence as a top spy in Russia, and one of the leading spy-recruiters in Washington.
As reported by the Denver Post, the photographer from the state-owned Russian Foreign Ministry was let into the Oval Office to also photograph President Trump as he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who can be seen as the second person from the left in the above photo. The meeting inside the White House in Washington, on Wednesday, May 10, is causing all sorts of security concerns after President Trump welcomed the top diplomat to Vladimir Putin inside the Oval Office, representing President Trump's highest level face-to-face meeting with Russian big wigs since President Trump took the Oval Office in January.
As seen in another photo taken by the Russian Foreign Ministry photographer above, President Trump stood in the middle of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the left, while Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak stood on the right side of the photo.
The high level of access given to the Russian diplomats and the Russian Foreign Ministry photographer was criticized by former U.S. CIA operatives as something that could have opened the Oval Office up to bugging.As seen in the above exchange on Twitter, former deputy CIA Director David Cohen answered that it was not a good idea for a Russian Foreign Ministry photographer to be allowed into the Oval Office with all of the photography equipment. Such a move could have allowed the Oval Office to have been bugged by giving the Russian photographer ample opportunity to leave a listening device or some sort of surveillance equipment in the Oval Office.
Photos of President Trump with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were published by the TASS Russian News Agency online. The White House, meanwhile, claims that they were not informed about the Russian photographer's role, according to the Denver Post. The White House didn't know the Russian photographer worked for TASS.
Via the TASS Russian News Agency, articles such as "Russian diplomat reproaches U.S. media for heavy bias during Lavrov's visit to U.S." are being published on May 11, criticizing the U.S. media's focus on any alleged Russian intervention in the presidential elections.
More Photos of President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Oval OfficeAdditional photos of Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov, President Trump, and Russia's Ambassador Kislyak can be seen in the Oval Office at the White House, such as this photo by Alexander Shcherbak/TASS via Getty Images. A search for "Oval Office" via Getty Images shows a plethora of photos of President Trump posing for photos with Russian officials, including those credited to Anadolu Agency, out of Turkey.
Twitter is filling up with its own theories about the Oval Office potentially being bugged, as seen in sample comments below.
"Now that the[Featured Image by Russian Foreign Ministry Photo/AP Images]
#Russians have fully bugged the #OvalOffice if I were ever in there, I'd ask if I can make my own recording or leave!. @maddow"
"With a photographer and a bag of electronic equipment that I'm sure Donald knew the purpose of each piece. Oval office is now bugged. Great."
"Given the size of today's bugging technology I'm assuming they bugged the Oval Office & Trump. Trump is a major national security risk."