White House bans personal cell phones from the West Wing

The White House is banning the use of personal cell phones within the West Wing, citing security concerns, a move tha...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 7:03 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 7:03 PM

The White House is banning the use of personal cell phones within the West Wing, citing security concerns, a move that has prompted widespread frustration amongst staffers.

"The security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration and therefore, starting next week, the use of all personal devices for both guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Thursday morning.

Staff will still be able to use their government-issued devices

The new policy will apply to both staff and guests

Sanders said staff will continue be able to conduct business on government-issued devices.

The ban on personal cell phones does not apply to the President, a person familiar with the decision says.

The decision to ban personal cell phones had been under discussion for months, but never executed. It's an idea chief of staff John Kelly floated when he first entered the administration in July, but had not decided to enforce until now. It's unclear why the policy was announced this week.

The standard is expected to apply to everyone -- including top officials like Hope Hicks -- one person familiar with the decision tells CNN.

The policy has drawn the ire of those it will affect, with several staffers questioning how they are expected to stay in touch with their families while working 12-hour days.

One source close to the White House said "no one is happy" with the decision, adding that no one inside the West Wing believes the official explanation that the cell phone ban is for national security reasons. Instead, it's all about limiting leaks to reporters, this source said.

Another source close to White House said the policy is aimed at stopping leaking from inside the West Wing.

"It's not about being secure. It's about being suspicious," the source said.

In the early months of the Trump administration, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer reviewed his aides' personal and government-issued cell phones in an effort to ensure they weren't privately communicating with reporters amid a series of information leaks. He also informed staff that the use of encrypted messaging apps, like Signal and Confide, was a violation of the Federal Records Act.

Though Sanders said the phone ban will begin "starting next week," there has not yet been internal guidance on the policy, and it's still unclear when it will take effect. Some staffers are also still wondering whether there will be any exemptions and what the consequences would be for violating the personal cell phone ban.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 479326

Reported Deaths: 9353
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32779484
Hinds30924582
DeSoto30319353
Jackson23542341
Rankin21235366
Lee14803219
Madison14120271
Jones13327223
Forrest13078236
Lauderdale11501303
Lowndes10377176
Lamar10163130
Pearl River9008217
Lafayette8193137
Hancock7404111
Oktibbeha6909122
Washington6900150
Monroe6459159
Neshoba6441201
Warren6387163
Pontotoc623093
Panola6203125
Bolivar6072144
Marshall6068121
Union571386
Pike5574135
Alcorn533289
Lincoln5283131
George466072
Scott454796
Leflore4444140
Prentiss443377
Tippah442180
Itawamba441599
Adams4376116
Tate4327101
Simpson4313112
Wayne430766
Copiah429587
Yazoo419686
Covington413292
Sunflower4123104
Marion4073104
Leake395486
Coahoma391098
Newton367274
Grenada3543104
Stone350359
Tishomingo333288
Attala324286
Jasper313162
Winston303091
Clay294173
Chickasaw286265
Clarke279890
Calhoun263940
Holmes261387
Smith248048
Yalobusha219647
Tallahatchie217550
Walthall209958
Greene206845
Lawrence205732
Perry198553
Amite197651
Webster195042
Noxubee177739
Montgomery171654
Jefferson Davis167442
Carroll161437
Tunica150834
Benton141533
Kemper138039
Claiborne126134
Choctaw126026
Humphreys125937
Franklin116328
Quitman103426
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson87333
Sharkey62320
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 778549

Reported Deaths: 13665
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1105871747
Mobile704651206
Madison49152610
Baldwin35946479
Shelby35796302
Tuscaloosa33410532
Montgomery32906672
Lee22231216
Calhoun20791397
Morgan19605326
Etowah18837449
Marshall17465272
Houston16452368
St. Clair15233293
Limestone14376182
Cullman14348246
Elmore14241256
Lauderdale13298278
Talladega12699230
DeKalb12036233
Walker10430323
Autauga9568133
Blount9555152
Jackson9235146
Coffee8728169
Colbert8426179
Dale8410170
Escambia6526114
Tallapoosa6501172
Covington6396163
Chilton6293141
Russell598555
Franklin5719100
Chambers5315133
Marion4734115
Dallas4665182
Clarke457076
Pike456294
Geneva4315116
Winston417192
Lawrence4086108
Bibb401680
Barbour341968
Marengo323183
Butler314988
Monroe314652
Pickens300470
Randolph299955
Henry298356
Hale289383
Cherokee284652
Fayette275672
Washington244848
Crenshaw235168
Clay225163
Macon217657
Cleburne217149
Lamar192140
Conecuh179646
Lowndes170158
Coosa166432
Wilcox155736
Bullock147742
Perry136036
Sumter124136
Greene120142
Choctaw72826
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