The security experts at the White House, in a briefing to reporters, also explained that the encryption was part of a plan to prevent cyberattacks from occurring at home, and to prevent foreign countries from acquiring sophisticated hacking tools.
“The encryption is intended to protect the president and the president’s family from potential cyberattacks that are coming from abroad,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
“And I think the president believes the president is protected from that, that the president has not been hacked.”
The NSA and the FBI did not respond to requests for comment.
The White House said it was confident that the intelligence community had conducted a thorough investigation of the matter and that the President had been briefed on the matter.
“It’s not something that’s just being talked about,” Carney said of the alleged hacking.
“We have a strong team of people who have a very deep interest in this matter.”
The White house added that it had no evidence that the attack had taken place.
“There are many, many other factors that can influence the outcome of an election,” Carney told reporters.
“But we do believe this was a successful hack and that it’s part of an ongoing effort to compromise the security of the president.”
The Washington Post’s Glenn Greenwald, who has been working on a book about Edward Snowden, said that the revelation that the FBI had used an encrypted messaging app to intercept and store the phone calls of several members of Trump’s inner circle was troubling.
“If you can’t decrypt the messages, you have to be extremely paranoid about how you can decrypt the communications,” Greenwald said.
Snowden also revealed the extent of the surveillance carried out by the NSA and FBI in the months leading up to the 2016 election, and said the fact that the former National Security Agency contractor had been able to keep some of the communications private was troubling for those who believe the government has been involved in a far-reaching campaign to interfere with the US election process.
The US intelligence community was working with the FBI and NSA to collect information about foreign threats, Snowden said, and had a long history of sharing information with each other.
“I’m worried that we are getting very, very close to the kind of kind of world that we know from Orwell and the likes,” Snowden said.