National Politics

Did the Russians bug Trump’s soccer ball? SC’s Graham’s claims may be on target

Sen. Lindsey Graham might not have been too off base when he said a soccer ball gifted to President Trump by Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been bugged, according to reports from national media.

The World Cup soccer ball, with which Trump was gifted during a summit between the world leaders in Helsinki, may contain a transmitter chip that can connect to nearby phones, Bloomberg reported.

Shortly after Trump and Putin held a joint news conference at the summit that sparked political outrage, Palmetto politician Graham sounded off on Twitter about the gift.

“Finally, if it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House,” Graham said.

A logo on the soccer ball, spotted in pictures of Putin and the president, appear to show that a chip is included, CNN reported.

According to the Adidas website, the chip included in its AG ball can exchange data with a phone when the devices are connected. It’s intended for users to be able to get “exclusive information about the product, Adidas football content, special competitions and challenges.”

Theoretically, the chip — which is the same used to facilitate mobile payments on smartphones — could be hacked to send links to malicious files to other phones, according to Bloomberg.

In a statement, the Secret Service said the ball was going through security screening, as would any gift given to the president. The agency tasked with protecting the president did not comment specifically on any findings or their methodology.

Fans prepare to see their favorite players at the World Cup in Russia.