BrickHouse Security CEO Todd Morris on White House Counter-Surveillance
Earlier this month, the Russian press released an unexpected photo of President Trump meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, among other Russian officials. The Washington Post reported that the White House was not informed that any photos taken that day would be released to the public.
The unauthorized release of this photo has led to increased concern about information safety. The Washington Post interviewed BrickHouse Security’s CEO Todd Morris to find out more about surveillance devices and what a security breach could look like inside the Oval Office.
It would probably be easy, he said, to bring in a small, sophisticated recording device. “It would be set up to record on audio record, audio-activated. It would store that data locally. And then, within a certain amount of time and in a burst of transmission, it would transmit that to a server.”
Knowing that the device would be found, then, it would transmit a signal out in as quick a burst as possible. This is meant to prevent White House security from detecting the burst — and then tracking down its point of origin. Morris figured that date would be sent out after about 12 hours, although it would also be useful to send a burst after only a few hours, given that you’d then have captured the conversation debriefing the Russians’ visit.
This raises the question of whether a signal could escape the Oval Office. Morris was confident that it could. The room itself isn’t a SCIF — a specially designed secure location that’s meant to contain electronic communication and prevent eavesdropping. But it does have certain counter-surveillance technologies.
A small device like this could probably be easily hidden, but would likely not remain hidden for long as equally sophisticated counter-surveillance tools are in operation in such a high-security place as the White House. “Obviously the first line of defense for White House security is pre-screening of guests,” Todd Morris said. “The White House is known traditionally as being one of the most secure places on the planet. The fact that someone got in who it sounds like held a dual role without good screening … is a little bit shocking.”
Read more about what the BrickHouse Security CEO has to say about the White House security breach here in the Washington Post article.