The White House purportedly ponders personal phone ban for staff

Saul Bowman
November 29, 2017

Bloomberg spoke with seven unnamed sources who confirmed that Trump wants to ban White House staffers from bringing their personal phones to work, a move that some sources believe could have unintended consequences.

The report said the policy under consideration is not because of President Donald Trump's concerns of administration officials leaking sensitive information to the press.

Personal devices could become compromised outside of the White House, however, and then potentially exploited once they return to the premises.

Trump has fussed about leaks to the news media, but that is not the reason White House is giving for the proposed ban.

The purported proposal isn't final, and neither are important details like when to impose the ban, and if all executive office staff would have to comply.

White House staffers could be relegating to using government-issued cellphones with limited capabilities while on the job, the report said, effectively restricting their communications outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but also lessening their odds of spurring a security breach.

The White House already takes precautions with personal wireless devices, including requiring phones to be left outside meeting rooms where sensitive or classified information is discussed. One official said too many devices were connected to the White House wireless network and that personal phones were not as secure as those issued by the government.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is said to be particularly pushing for the ban. Trump is very concerned about leaks and people tapping on their phones when they should be listening to his pearls of wisdom. During the president's recent trip to China, staff members were given "burner" or disposable phones to use in place of their regular work or personal handsets in case their phones were hacked.

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