Posts Tagged ‘Trump National Golf Club’

Trump Golf: Hole-in-One for Hackers

May 19, 2017

Trump Golf: Hole-in-One for Hackers

“We parked a 17-foot motor boat in a lagoon about 800 feet from the back lawn of The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and pointed a 2-foot wireless antenna that resembled a potato gun toward the club. Within a minute, we spotted three weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks. We could have hacked them in less than five minutes, but we refrained.

A few days later, we drove through the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the same antenna and aimed it at the clubhouse. We identified two open Wi-Fi networks that anyone could join without a password. We resisted the temptation.

We have also visited two of President Donald Trump’s other family-run retreats, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a golf club in Sterling, Virginia. Our inspections found weak and open Wi-Fi networks, wireless printers without passwords, servers with outdated and vulnerable software, and unencrypted login pages to back-end databases containing sensitive information.

The risks posed by the lax security, experts say, go well beyond simple digital snooping. Sophisticated attackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks to take over devices like computers or smart phones and use them to record conversations involving anyone on the premises.

“Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just ProPublica,” said Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., a digital security company, when we told him what we found.”

— “Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago,”  Jeff Larson and Julia Angwin, with Surya Mattu of Gizmodo,

While the president travels with secure communication equipment, he tweets on an older model Android phone. And members and their guests could have their phones hacked to record conversations at the clubs.


“Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is heaven — for spies,” Darren Samuelsohn, Politico


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Goodbye Palm Beach; Hello Bedminster

May 5, 2017

Goodbye Palm Beach; Hello Bedminster

In May, as Florida heats up, flocks of migrating golf bums head north. This weekend our Golf-Bum-in-Chief has landed in New Jersey‘s Trump National Bedminster Golf Club. You can join him for a mere $350,000 initiation fee and thousands a year in dues, food, drinks, and facilities charges. Not to mention golf bets and tips for caddies, waiters, and parking valets.

While the stop-gap federal spending bill will reimburse Bedminster Township police overtime for round-the-clock security, it does nothing to mitigate Somerset County resident headaches due to the road closures, traffic congestion, and inevitable protests attendant on the Garden State presidential golf excursions.

We hope all this doesn’t scare the goats. Mr. Trump keeps about 4 of them on the luxury property to pretend it’s a farm, which lowers his taxes from about $80,000 to less than $1,000 a year. Does this mean there’s fresh chèvre and cabrito on the club’s menu?


“6 Things to Know About Bedminster, NJ, Trump’s Summer Getaway,” James Ramsay, WNYC


“Trump reportedly hits the links in NJ,” Brandon Carter, The Hill

“Could Trump golf course get slapped with a tax to cover cost of his N.J. visits?” Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ Advance Media for

“Anti-Trump protesters take to Bedminster, gear up for summer rallies,” Nick Muscavage, Courier News and Home Tribune

“‘Spend Your Free Time In A Red State’: A motorcade of protesters rolls by Trump’s N.J. property,” John Wagner, Washington Post


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Access to the President? Join the Club!

February 20, 2017

Access to the President? Join the Club!
Membership has it’s privileges, especially for those who shelled out $300,000 to join the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.

Back in November, President elect Donald J. Trump paraded his prospective cabinet officers into the clubhouse of his Bedminster golf club for job interviews. Now it turns out he invited random club members to sit in. Politico just got the audio, recorded by someone who was in the room. Here’s a transcript:

“We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything. You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government.”

“We’re going to be interviewing everybody — Treasury, we’re going to be interviewing Secretary of State. We have everybody coming in — if you want to come around, it’s going to be unbelievable….so you might want to come along.”

The pattern continues now that Donald Trump is President and Golf-Cheat-In-Chief. While he was entertaining Japan’s Prime Minister Abe in the public dining room of his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida ($200,000 membership fee), aides alerted him about a North Korean ballistic missile test, and they discussed the US response in full view and earshot of the club’s members. One club member even got a selfie with the serviceman who carries the “nuclear football.” House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz was not amused.

Mr. Trump believes that only the rich should play golf, so if you have the bucks to pay and play, you can chat with him about the nation’s business as well as your own.


“Leaked Trump tape: ‘You are the special people,'” Darren Samuelsohn and Anne Karni, Politico

“Trump ran a campaign based on intelligence security. That’s not how he’s governing.” Philip Bump, Washington Post

“Sun, Sand and Influence: For Mar-a-Lago Members, Proximity Is Power,” Nicholas Confessore, Maggie Haberman, and Eric Lipton, New York Times

“Trump’s Presidency ‘Enhances’ a $200,000 Mar-a-Lago Membership,” Chas Danner, New York Magazine

“Democrats demand Mar-a-Lago list of members, visitors,” Matthew Nussbaum, Politico

“Shouldn’t We Know Who Else Is at the ‘Winter White House’?” George Zornick, The Nation


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.