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U.S. government acknowledges phone spying devices in Washington

The Capitol Dome in the distance, the Washington Monument in the center, the Lincoln Memorial at right.
The Capitol Dome, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Visions of America / UIG via Getty Images

The U.S. government has publicly acknowledged for the first time there are devices in Washington, D.C., that foreign spies and criminals can use to track cellphones, eavesdrop on calls, and plant malware on cellphones, the AP reports.

Why it matters: This can leave cellphones, even if they are using encrypted methods of communication, vulnerable to eavesdropping. And it may be a national security threat, per Christopher Krebs, the DHS official who heads up the National Protection and Programs Directorate and who drafted the letter.