After North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could have reached Alaska back in July 2017, members of the Trump administration huddled in top secret communications about how to respond.
But Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, could only communicate on her BlackBerry 10 smartphone, which was a potential security risk and a breach of protocol if confidential information was sent on a medium meant for unclassified information. As newly released emails show, amid the potential international crisis, Haley had reportedly forgotten her password for classified communications.
As The Daily Beast reported, Haley rushed into her office on July 4, sending emails to top aides and drafting a statement in response to the missile testing. Haley’s communications were revealed this week by the watchdog group American Oversight, which received a trove of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The report noted that most of the content had been redacted due to classified information or classified sources.
The revelation that Haley sent classified material through an unclassified system drew criticism from American Oversight, a nonprofit ethics group aimed at investigating the Trump administration.
“The American public has heard for years what the standard is for senior State Department officials mishandling classified information in their emails,” said Austin Evers, the group’s executive director.
“Ambassador Haley may have found it inconvenient to update her password, but, as we all know, ‘convenience’ is not an acceptable reason to skirt information security rules. She should be held to the same standard as everyone else.”
The Trump administration has come under fire for lapses in security with relation to communications, especially after Trump made Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server a major line of attack during the 2016 presidential election. Several members of the Trump administration have been accused of using personal email to conduct official business, including the president’s daughter and top White House adviser, Ivanka Trump. The Washington Post reported that Ivanka sent hundreds of emails from her personal email account.
In addition, Haley is not the first member of Trump’s inner circle to suffer an embarrassing lapse in personal password security. As The Inquisitr reported, the president’s personal lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, purportedly forgot his iPhone password just a week after being named a White House cybersecurity adviser. The report noted that Giuliani had to travel to an Apple Store in San Francisco to have an employee unlock his phone.