After explosive excerpts from an upcoming book on the Trump administration were published this week and reports noted that author Michael Wolff taped interviews, the White House has finally banned staffers from using their personal cellphones as it said it would do last year.
In a Thursday statement White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that since the “security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration” that all personal devices belonging to “guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing.” But in the daily White House press conference, Sanders said the ban had nothing to do with revelations in Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Last fall, noting that government-issued phones, which among other things don’t allow users to text, are more secure than personal devices, Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly reportedly expressed support for a ban.
After it came to light that Kelly’s smartphone was hacked by potentially by foreign operatives, the Secret Service reportedly put the kibosh on personal devices in the West Wing.
In a memo sent to agents in early October, the protective service introduced a “restrictive policy” that required personal devices to “either be secured and provided lock boxes … or turned off completely prior to entering the West Wing,” reported MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Kelly’s personal phone was hacked, possibly as long ago as December 2016 and, the chief of staff, who typically used his government-issued phone, apparently switched personal devices.