Obama and Other U.S. Officials to Skip Waldorf Astoria Hotel Over Security Concerns

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For decades, the traditional New York City home of U.S. leaders during the U.N. General Assembly has been the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, but following the purchase of the hotel by a Chinese insurance company last fall, President Obama and others in the government are headed to the Lotte New York Palace this year instead, and the New York Times reports that officials are citing security concerns as the reason. Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese company that now owns the world-famous Waldorf, is reportedly very well-connected within the Chinese government and has been planning a renovation of the hotel. This has raised espionage concerns within the U.S. government, even though security personnel typically set up a mini-submarine-like structure inside the president’s hotel room to guard against eavesdropping. The shift comes after multiple allegedly China-linked incidents in which U.S. government databases and files have been hacked, the biggest of which may have obtained the personal data of as many as 18 million federal employees.