Apr 3, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: President Trump said today he wants to send military troops to defend the southern border with Mexico until a wall is built. Details.

Why it matters, via the NYT: "The proposal was a remarkable escalation of his efforts to crack down on migrants entering the country illegally."

1 big thing: The rogue devices in Washington

"For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages," the AP's Frank Bajak scooped this afternoon.

  • The acknowledgment was in a letter from the Department of Homeland Security to Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.

Why it matters: "The agency’s response, obtained by The Associated Press from Wyden’s office, suggests little has been done about such equipment, known popularly as Stingrays after a brand common among U.S. police departments."

Quick details:

  • "In a March 26 letter... the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital."
  • "The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where."
  • "Aaron Turner, president of the mobile security consultancy Integricell... [said] every embassy 'worth their salt' has a cell tower simulator installed... They use them 'to track interesting people that come toward their embassies.' The Russians’ equipment is so powerful it can track targets a mile away, he said."

The big picture: "Shutting down rogue Stingrays is an expensive proposition that would require wireless network upgrades the industry has been loath to pay for, security experts say. It could also lead to conflict with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement."

Go deeper: Full AP story, including the DHS letter to Sen. Wyden

2. What you missed

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite and Donald Trump hold a joint news conference. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  1. Tesla has missed its first quarter Model 3 target of producing 2,500 vehicles a week, the company announced today. More.
  2. Alex van der Zwaan became the first person to be sentenced as a result of the Russia probe, receiving 30 days in prison and $20,000 in fines. The other defendants.
  3. Trump said today that the U.S. military coalition in Syria has "almost completed" the task of getting rid of ISIS. Quotes.
  4. Senate Democrats are demanding answers about Grindr's privacy policies after the LGBTQ dating app came under fire this week for sharing users' HIV status with third-party vendors.
  5. Fox News Channel's brand is experiencing more perception damage than any of the advertisers that have boycotted Laura Ingraham’s television show so far, according to early data from YouGov's Brand Index, which measures daily consumer perceptions of brands. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing

Spotify stock closed its first day of trading at $149.01 per share, Axios' Dan Primack notes, giving the music streaming giant a market cap of around $26.6 billion.

  • That's well off Spotify's opening price of $165.90 per share, but we didn't see the up-and-down volatility spikes that some had anticipated given that this was a direct listing rather than a traditional IPO.

Mike Allen