The Trump administration would like you to be more wary of your electronic kitchen appliances.
In an interview with The Independent, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested that, during the Presidential campaign, the Obama administration used a number of hidden devices to spy on Trump’s team – including devices embedded into regular household items.
“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other…You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets—any number of different ways.”
She went on to note that the FBI could watch you from “microwaves that turn into cameras,” and then added, “We know this is a fact of modern life.”
Conway says she read the allegation that the FBI and CIA can turn your kitchen devices into surveillance modules in an article, but the claim seems to come from a Wikileaks dump called “Vault 7″—a treasure trove of “official documents” detailing the CIA’s spy capabilities.
The dump details how the CIA can access any wireless-enabled devices, including smartphones (and, by extension, it seems, any device in your home connected to wifi). Everything from refrigerators to garage doors to thermostats can be interconnected and operated using wifi-enabled home control devices, like Amazon’s Echo—and easily hacked.
Samsung televisions can watch your every move and record your conversations even when turned off. Best Buy’s Geek Squad was reporting customers to the FBI if they found questionable material on computers they were asked to repair. In an episode of Stranger Things, the Department of Energy hid listening devices in people’s light bulbs.
A FOIA request later dispelled the claim that they did anything of the sort in the real world—though they are actually exploring parallel universes (good luck sleeping tonight).
But the weirder part of this interaction may be Conway quoting Wikileaks itself—an administration that is so paranoid about leaks, it’s hastily clearing out any remaining Obama administration staffer, seems to be citing an outlet famous for using only leaks as its sources as definitive proof that the same Obama administration was poking around its central offices.
Other than Conway, the Trump Administration has stayed mum on its allegations that Obama was collecting data on their communications, likely because affirming the claims could reinforce the notion that the Trump campaign was communicating with the Russians.