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Suspicious cellular activity in D.C. suggests monitoring of individuals' smartphones

Published: March 17, 2017
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Source: CBS

As the discussion over wiretapping and foreign hacking still dominates the conversation in Washington, an unusually high amount of suspicious cell phone activity in the nation’s capital has caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, raising concerns that U.S. officials are being monitored by a foreign entity.

The issue was first reported in the Washington Free Beacon, but a source at telecom security firm ESD America confirmed the spike in suspicious activity to CBS News.

ESD America, hired preemptively for a DHS pilot program this January called ESD Overwatch, first noticed suspicious activity around cell phone towers in certain parts of the capital, including near the White House. This kind of activity can indicate that someone is monitoring specific individuals or their devices.

DHS confirmed the pilot program but did not comment on the suspicious activity.

“The Overwatch system is part of a 90-day pilot that was initiated on January 18, 2017,” the agency said in a statement. “The Overwatch System is managed by DHS, through ESD America Inc., a defense and law enforcement technology provider that provides technical security assistance to government and corporate clients.”

According to the ESD America source, the first such spike of activity was in D.C. but there have been others in other parts of the country.

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