Last updated: 03:05 PM ET, Fri June 19 2015

Government Officials Reportedly Avoiding Waldorf Astoria New York

Hotel & Resort | Donald Wood | June 19, 2015

Government Officials Reportedly Avoiding Waldorf Astoria New York

The Waldorf Astoria New York is one of the most famous hotels in the world and has hosted some of the most powerful men in politics, but that is reportedly not the case anymore after a Chinese company bought the building.

According to CBS2’s Sonia Rincon, officials from the State Department and the White House will no longer be staying in the five-star hotel over concerns that the new owners, a Chinese company called Anbang, could potentially spy on public officials.

Anbang purchased the Waldorf Astoria hotel from the Hilton Corporation in 2014, and according to CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst Pamela Falk, several key diplomats—possibly even President Barack Obama—will be staying overnight at the Palace Hotel instead.

There will be a United Nations General Assembly session in the fall, and while the State Department hasn’t said anything publicly, there is a fear that the renovations being made at the hotel could result in the installation of “eavesdropping, bugging devices,” according to U.S. Representative Peter T. King.

Felk told CBS, “Because the Chinese have made so many cyber attacks and eavesdropping against the United States, it’s very prudent for the United States to make sure that all these important bilateral meetings with heads of state don’t take place where they’re going to be transmitted to China.”

Not only are high-ranking public officials considering a change in hotel venues, but there are some who believe United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power also should move from her residence inside the hotel. Power claims she is not concerned, but the lease is up on the apartment at the end of 2015.

The Waldorf Astoria released a statement about the story to CBS, “It is always a privilege to host representatives of the U.S. Department of State and we hope to have the occasion to welcome them back to the Waldorf Astoria New York when the opportunity presents itself.”

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