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Putin gave Trump a soccer ball that contains a transmitter chip for cell data: report

First Lady Melania Trump during a joint press conference between President Donald J. Trump and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation | July 16, 2018. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
July 26, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin gifted President Donald Trump a soccer ball, this after Russia recently hosted the World Cup, while the two held a joint press conference at their summit in Finland earlier this month.

The soccer ball, which Trump accepted and then tossed to First Lady Melania Trump during the press event, reportedly contains a chip that could possibly transmit information to nearby cellphones.

Photos of the Adidas soccer ball revealed that it features a logo indicating it contains a near-field communication (NFC) tag, which is a chip that is also in the soccer ball that was used in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The NFC chip allows users to access videos and other information when a smartphone is held nearby, according to a report from The Hill.

While it’s unlikely that the chip in the ball could be used in a scheme to compromise White House security, it was once reported that NFC technology was used to breach a phone.

U.S. Secret Service conducted a security screening on the ball, which is routine for any gifts that the President receives. The agents were unable to find any evidence that the ball was modified by Moscow to be used to breach White House security.

Despite getting the approval of the Secret Service, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, is skeptical.

“I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

After the summit in Finland, Trump invited Putin to the White House so the world leaders could continue their discussion on issues that are important to the U.S. and Russia.

However, the White House recently decided to delay Putin’s visit until 2019, as Trump would rather host Puting once “the Russia witch hunt is over,” said National Security Advisor John Bolton, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election.

“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Bolton said.