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.

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Ramsey10166314
Dakota6895123
Anoka5466130
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Scott230532
Olmsted221726
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Mahnomen421
Red Lake370
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Kittson140
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 76376

Reported Deaths: 1239
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk14932255
Johnson488827
Woodbury467459
Black Hawk424384
Linn3615101
Story319917
Dallas262838
Scott260026
Dubuque250140
Buena Vista191312
Pottawattamie188137
Marshall174934
Wapello121657
Sioux11803
Webster117414
Muscatine105052
Clinton101818
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Plymouth95920
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Warren9146
Des Moines7117
Jasper70732
Marion6834
Tama67630
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Lee5697
Wright5471
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Dickinson4596
Bremer4477
Boone4316
Washington41411
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Franklin32917
Hamilton3113
Mahaska30819
Delaware3053
Floyd2773
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Hardin2651
Benton2571
Clarke2513
Butler2502
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Lyon2143
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