Somebody’s watching me

Through the haze of a news cycle in which Democratic supporters used the word “treason” to describe Donald Trump’s encouragement of Russian eavesdropping, this story first reported by Buzzfeed a few weeks ago looks more interesting:

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff….

…The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.”

At the 126-room Mar-a-Lago mansion, Trump keeps an apartment set aside for himself and his family, and rents the rest out to guests and members.

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.

Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.

They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.

Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.

None of the four supports Trump’s bid for president. All said they enjoyed their time working at Mar-a-Lago.

Visitors of Walt Disney World know that paper or card tickets don’t exist; guests get “Magic Bands,” which not only have the magical power to store tickets, hotel and dining reservations, and hotel room access, but magically act as remote GPS units tracking guests around the park. I imagine WDW’s IT headquarters rivals the NSA. Which is to say that this creepiness is legal. But the story if true adduces his Nixonian tendencies. Just stop using landlines, okay?

(h/t Digby)

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