Zelenskyy may have been endangered by US lawmakers’ pictures

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — Some lawmakers are being accused of jeopardizing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s safety over the weekend after they tweeted photos of a Zoom call.

Saturday, several members of Congress were on a call with Zelenskyy as he pleaded for more U.S. intervention in his country’s war with Russia. Some members of both parties tweeted a picture of Zelenskyy from that meeting — apparently against the wishes of the Ukrainian ambassador.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Fla.) tweeted one such image, but said he did it before anyone was asked not to. Rep. Steve Daines (R, Mont.), Rep. Jim Himes (D, Conn.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also tweeted pictures.

In an appearance on CNN, Rubio downplayed the impact the photo had on Zelenskyy’s safety.

“That call had been widely reported. Actually, the specific time had been reported,” Rubio said on CNN. “There were over 300 people on it. All the call details had been emailed. So there’s nothing secure about that call. And the picture is just a nondescript picture. It looks just like any of the other ones that you’ve seen out there publicly.”

Jason Blazakis, a former U.S. counterterrorism official, says the picture is not quite “nondescript” enough.

“It is anodyne, you see the flag, you see the brown chair, you see the desk, you see the papers, but you can reverse image search those,” Blazakis said on “Dan Abrams Live.” “Has that been a place where he spoken before? Can you go online and find this area in which he’s speaking and then figure out the location if it was publicly noted when he spoke from it previously? There is a level of risk there that we just can’t ignore.”

Hackers also potentially could have found their way into the Zoom to disrupt it, or maybe even trace Zelenskyy’s location.

The Ukrainian leader has posted frequent video updates from various locations, and proclaimed he would stay in Kyiv in a recent address. However, his aides say they have foiled multiple assassination attempts already and the war is not yet two weeks old.

Zelenskyy’s approach will rally the support of his people, but it could also make him easier to find.

“I think he’s really also juxtaposing his strength by showing where he is right now, in the thick of things in Kyiv and juxtaposing that with with Putin, who we have no idea where Putin is any given moment,” Blazakis said. “I think he’s trying to show that there is this stark difference, but it is a double edged sword.”

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