The White House has now decided that staffers and guests will no longer be able to use personal cell phones in the West Wing.
The announcement came right after a book came out against the Trump Administration in January which was rumored to be a tell-all book of the inner-workings of the Trump Administration. One that prompted President Donald Trump to threaten Steve Bannon with legal action since the book is full of quotes from him.
NBC News reported the White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as saying:
“The security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration. Therefore, starting next week the use of all personal devices for both guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing,” she said. “Staff will be able to conduct business on their government-issued devices and continue working hard on behalf of the American people.”
But what Press Secretary Sanders declined to answer was whether the White House personal cell phone ban will also apply to the President’s devices. Instead, she answered “As always we do not discuss specific security measures around the president,”
This is a measure which has been in talks since early November of last year when the media started to suffer from leaks which no one other than White House staff could have been responsible for. This ban announcement followed the release of the now mostly discredited book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff, which went on to reveal widespread dysfunction and infighting inside the administration.
Perhaps one of the most damaging parts in the book is where Steve Bannon referred to a meeting of Trump campaign officials with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Which prompted an attorney for the President to threaten him with legal action since he violated a written confidentiality and nondisparagement agreement the moment he spoke to Wolff.
Funny how after Bannon was fired the leaks from the White House stopped cold. Never again did we hear about any other problem within the White House, either with the president or-or staff.
Here is more on this mess via Bloomberg:
“The White House may ban its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work, raising concerns among some staffers including that they’ll be cut off from family and friends, according to seven administration officials.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained about press leaks since taking office, but one official said the potential change isn’t connected to concerns about unauthorized disclosures to news organizations.
The proposed ban is instead driven by cybersecurity concerns, the officials said. One official said that there are too many devices connected to the campus wireless network and that personal phones aren’t as secure as those issued by the federal government. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — whose personal phone was found to be compromised by hackers earlier this year — is leading the push for a ban, another official said.
The officials requested anonymity to discuss the proposal because it’s not final.
The White House already takes precautions with personal wireless devices, including by requiring officials to leave phones in cubbies outside of meeting rooms where sensitive or classified information is discussed. Top officials haven’t yet decided whether or when to impose the ban, and if it would apply to all staff in the executive office of the president.
While some lower-level officials support a ban, others worry it could result in a series of disruptive unintended consequences.
Mobile devices issued by the White House aren’t able to send text messages, creating a hardship for staff who say texting is often the easiest way for their families to reach them in the middle of a busy day of meetings. Other staff are concerned that they could be accused of wasting government resources if they use White House-issued phones to place personal calls.
The White House computer network already blocks employees from accessing certain websites, including Gmail and Google Hangouts, meaning that without personal devices officials could be cut off from their personal email accounts throughout the work day.
People opposed to the idea also note that government record-keeping requirements mean that records of personal calls placed to and from a government mobile phone would be archived and eventually made public.
Security priorities may override those concerns. Mobile phone security has been a persistent issue for the White House, and at times some top officials have also worried about staff using their personal devices to communicate with news reporters.
In October, Politico reported that White House officials believed Kelly’s personal mobile phone had been compromised for months, raising the prospect that foreign adversaries may have gained access to data on the device.
Staffers were also instructed not to use their personal or regular work mobile phones during Trump’s trip to China earlier this month. Instead, they were assigned “burner” phones in case they became compromised by a cyber attack.
In the early months of the administration, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer demanded members of his staff turn over their mobile phones for random checks to see if they had leaked damaging information to the media. Spicer warned his staff that using encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Confide were violations of the Presidential Records Act.
Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus proposed a ban on personal mobile phones before he left his post in July, a person familiar with the matter said. His aim was to crack down on use of personal phones to conduct official business, the person said.”