White House Cracks Down With Ban Of Personal Cell Phones

In order to stop information from getting out, press secretary Sarah Sanders to the White House recently stated personal cellphones and other such devices are to be banned at the West Wing.

Sanders proclaimed, “[S]tarting next week the use of all personal devices for both guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing,”

“Staff will be able to conduct business on their government-issued devices and continue working hard on behalf of the American people.”

  • Dan Menard

    Having worked for the government on secured project and places, this shut down of personal calls is not really all that unusual!
    Security is important even if at times it IS inconvenient. You never know what might inadvertently be over heard or what slip of
    the tong might be made during that call. It is for the most part just SOP!

    • raptureready

      Ditto.

  • Paul Kalmakoff

    …sounds reasonable, only matters of the state need be discussed in the White House.
    Another MAGA idea, thanks Mr. President!

  • apzzyk

    Most of the people working in the White House are career employees, and so they have full First Amendment rights including the right to freely communicate with others, and most of the work that goes on there is routine and not subject to classification, so with this Trumps rights do not superceed those given in the constitution. On top of that it would take strip searches to try to enforce the ban, and then there is the fact that he would also be subject to the ban so there would be no more tweets. Bans such as this can only be enforced in places where the government has a real reason and necessity to make the ban. For example, when I worked at a nuclear weapons plant, there was a ban on private electronics – you could not have your personal radio on your desk or work bench, and you could not bring a camera onto the compound. With at least 1,000 workers each shift on a 24/7/365 this ban would now become impossible to enforce given just the cell phone and such things a a microphone the size of a button. If strip searches were required, the employees working there would have to be paid for standing in line, and even less would get done there. If devices such as the cell phone can be smuggled into places like federal prisons, as are drugs, then it would be impossible to enforce. Just another attempt to make this the US of Trump and try to get by with things that are really against the interests of most people in the US, and another reason why rumors would take over from real news.

    • Agostino

      Drugs and cell phones are not “smuggled” into prisons and jails– unless you consider paying guards to be smuggling. And as the commenters above have said, there is good reason for the limitation. It’s apparent you have never spent time in a secured location. Background sounds can be as definitive as actual descriptions to a trained listener.

      • apzzyk

        i did do 3 years of Federal time as a political prisoner – I criticised Reagan’s Nicaragua Policy – remember Iran/Contra and Ollie North – and drugs could be found in all of them – before cell phones, but there was other contraband of about the same size available, and so guards would disappear only to reappear at another prison, if they were not killed by an inmate – what do you do when you have 1,000 or more equally likely suspects?

    • ErnieLane

      Where does “the right to freely communicate with others” come from?

      • apzzyk

        it comes in the form of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom to peacefully associate’ – both in the First Amendment which also covers criticism of puplic and private officials. Not signed by Trump, hated by Putin, so not followed by Trump trying to be our Putin.

        • Lindsay Paolillo

          You really are a lunatic and clearly do not understand government and business. Before the US got into WWII a relative of mine worked as a Navy Wave decoding messages, in her case Japanese messages. She had top security clearance, she was not allowed to discuss what she decoded (not so much as one word) with her fellow workers, with her friends or family under penalty of death. She knew that Pearl Harbor would be bombed because of what she had decoded over a several week period, certainly FDR knew it too, he sent Henry Stinson over to Nebraska Ave. to pick up the completely decoded messages daily to bring back to him to read. My relative could not tell her family what was going to happen, she did not have the freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully associate. What you are writing says that she should have had those rights, the right to be put to death because national security was more information than those freedoms. If that is what you think than God Help America. Let me guess, you would support a Socialist form of government and everyone is free to tell America’s secrets. Better go hide the Martians are coming.

        • Lindsay Paolillo

          Like talking to a brick wall.

      • Lindsay Paolillo

        Freedom of speech comes from the Constitution, but it does not always be guaranteed in the workplace. If you were in the military, working in that mountain in Colorado where they can tell if anything has pierced the electronic net around the US, you do not have freedom of speech to talk about that, while working there, while at home, with friends or with family. As a matter of fact you cannot talk about it for 50 to 75 years or never, depending upon the subject. So don’t go over the edge on freedom of speech, certain jobs restrict that freedom for the sake of the company or the government. If your freedom of speech is more important to you, quit your job and get one at McDonalds or KFC, but be sure you know that you may not tell your friends the recipe for KFC or for their cole slaw, your freedom of speech ends at their recipes. Do you get it now?

        • ErnieLane

          Freedom of speech. sure (but only insofar as the government can’t infringe it. You mentioned the workplace; the employer certainly can.) but “the right to freely communicate with others” sounds like, for example, a government contractor has he right to communicate with a Russian, or that you have the right to have the other person listen to you, (“communication” implies a two-way thing), and that is simply not the case. My advice: don’t try to be clever. Stick to “freedom of speech.” It’s nice, simple, and clean.

    • Art Schwartz

      It’s a shame this has to be done but Trump is right on this one. Information is being leaked by people that are in closed door meetings with the President and it is possible during those meetings that some classified information may be said. CNN is actually telling viewers what is happening in those meetings as the meetings are still going on.

      • Lindsay Paolillo

        Sadly true and I hope the government goes after CNN for that.

    • Lindsay Paolillo

      You are so wrong. If you are working for the government, a company, in the military, so long as you are on their time clock, they get to make the rules and for the sake of national security, cell phones should be banned. They all have phones on their desks, they can make their calls from those phones. Not like they are locked in a cell all day with no phone. I never needed a cell phone at work. If I had to make a personal call to make a doctor appt. for instance, I did that on my morning or afternoon break, never on company time and certainly not on taxpayers time. There is security equipment to detect cell phones and other kinds of listening devices so your mention of strip searches is really way over the top, in fact lunacy at it’s best. Just because you do not like the President does not mean that you should present a completely illogical case. Maybe you are not up-to-date on the things that can be detected. Do your homework before making crazy statements about strip searches.

      • apzzyk

        In the USMC (1957-61) I was on duty 24/7 officially, and the postal rules were in effect for me too, so I could write personal letters without them being screened, even when I had security clearances, and when actually on duty, I carried a little note book that was not considered official; the put me in charge of an electronics warehouse with orders to get all of the parts put in the right places to avoid errors, and had 4 people who all outranked me reporting to me, along with the new to us M/Sgt who was out to pasture – just finishing up so he could retire with a bigger pension. We got a New Marine in that was a licenced Ham radio operator and put him to work testing out to see if all of the equaipment that we had would actually perform – that was with Morse Code. We got raided, and Fox went to the brig because his favorite person to contact happened to be in the USSR – the maximum for the radios that he was testing. Even though the M/sgt and I both testified at his courts martial that he was following our orders he was convicted, and then it got really exiting. Earlier, during a training exercise that went terribly wrong, I was assigned to drive the morgue truck, and at the end of the week when it finally ended, I was given the direct order not to say anything to anyone about what I had seen or done, and not being able to talk it over gave me PTSD, but now I can tell you about the ‘no comment’ from officials – I took over 30 bodies of dead Marines and Corpsmen to the morgue, and I cannot forget what I saw and had to do – following orders and being in the wrong place at the wrong time – probably still classified, but I got out on a medical without having to wear a dress. Next, worked on a NASA grant on what to do with people on long space trips – hibirnation – it was originally classified by definition, but since we were unable to crack the secret, it is now open knowledge, but I still have personal notes from the days of classification. Next – there was the Nuclear Weapons Plant – where without a clearance I did not even officially know the product, but wrote a dp system on weight measurement quality control which was classified, and suddenly all of my work product disappeared, but a copy of my work product was at home when it was classified. The worse thing that we could do when we accidently revealed a claasified piece of information was to say “I shouldn’t have told you that’. From there I went on to the Pharm industry as a contractor where I had to sign confidetiality agreements without pledging loyalty to the company. Since I had personal higher ethical standards than the employees who wanted to keep their jobs and pensions, if I would have seen something really wrong I would have reported them to the FDA. Remember VIOXX – not enough contracts to keep the clinical trials accurate. There was no way that they did not know about the adverse side effects that caused cardiac arrests, and paid millions in civil penalties and settled class action suits. With tech changes everyone has at least one cell phone, it is also next to impossible to catch the new bugging devices – you have to trust the employees, and Trump cannot do with them as he did with his resort employees – make them sign a loyalty oath to him which is not enforcable. Honesty is the best policy. Since not all FBI material is classified it must be one on a piece by piece bases and there is the same legal process for that as there are with military secrets. When I was in the most reliable source of income was the retired Marine who drove the after hours sandwich truck. People all over the base would unintentially talk about something while standing in line and that went from the Generals on down. I told my boss about a coming all hands on deck type of alert a week before it happened, and I had to tell the Col that i had heard it from the sandwich man. The Col said that he also got alerts from a different one. If you want to keep something secret, don’t even trust your dog or cat. Because of an uncles job as CEO of the Sandia Corp, my aunt had to get a security clearance in case he talked in his sleep. If his picture had not been taken at one of the Big 3 conferences during WWII he probably would have been the highest ranking civiliian employee at the replacement CIA. It was obstruction of justice that took Nixon down, and so Ryan said that Trump could not develop the requisite intent to obstruct justice – preparing for the insanity defense? Trump has eluded psychiatrists on the golf course – can he do that in Walter Reed? When I was in USN Hospitals there were just psychiatists wander around looking and listening. They did not like my Navy Psychiatrist and I saw him enter the locked ward, handed pjs and his keys taken from him. His crime was probably reporting that he did not have the tools necessary to do his job properly – they were saving the taxpayers money even then too. I happen to be able to close my eyes and see text that I only saw once and that may have been 50 years ago.

        • missourisam

          Sounds like you should have worn a dress, and lace on your panties. If you had to be liable for some of the bodies I could see the stress. Try shooting between 20 to fifty “mules” a night that were only guilty of moving supplies under threat of death. That will cause stress. I had dreams of that for years, but I could function in society. Guess PTSD wasn’t in vogue then or I could have gotten a pension for it.

  • James Ellis

    I work at a Military base in Hampton Roads. Strip searches are not necessary. The Security office has a device that senses cell phones and sounds an alarm. Since every else has surrendered their device peer pressure alone is enough for the person to own up go back out to the Quarterdeck to shelf their phone in a locker. Honor system with warning signs to begin with then sensors install asap; end of problem ban enforced. This ban won’t completely stop leaks but it will help to curtail them. Security and freedom from leaks are the reasons for this procedure; the President has the authority to increase security requirements to meet identified threats.

  • Robert Kahlcke

    Thank you Mr. President.

  • pmbalele

    I am really sorry for people working in the WH now. They should be feeling being in prison for they are not allowed to use their cell phones. What is the hubbub for WH staff not using their cell phones when they can listen and decide which info they can tell the public? After all cell phone can be as little as a button to listen and transmit pictures and information to the public. Restricting use of cell phone is a Band-Aid. I would suggest all people working in the WH be subjected to take oath they will not leak information to the public. Now if they leak while they under oath, Trump can file contempt charges against them for leaking information. Otherwise it is useless to restrict cell phones in the WH.

    • jseeburger

      pmbalele —- I’m guessing you’ve never had to work or live in a security environment. Banning personal cell phones and/or their use in not an uncommon security measure. In the military. In public office. Even in private business. As far as your suggestion people take and oath – I’m reasonablely sure the WH employees take an “oath of office” where-in they swear to defend and protect the constitution and the US. As a military person I took one. As a civil servant I took one. When working in a private company, while we employees were not required to take such an oath, we were not allowed to use our personal cell phone while on the job. (If you are on your phone then you are not on the company’s business.)

    • Lindsay Paolillo

      There are thousands of businesses who do not allow cell phones in the work place and I can easily see why. Not allowing them in the WH makes even more sense to me. First of all the are there to work, not to be on their cell phones making and taking personal phone calls. Suppose they overheard something that was to remain high priority and top secret, if they were someone like a Steve Bannon, they would call the media with it immediately, that would harm our security big time. I am against any of them having their cell phones while working in the people’s house on the people’s dime. during their lunch they can go to their locker or their car if they need to make a call, in fact they can make that call from their desk, there is not need to have that call they are making secret. Far better for our security if no cell phones allowed. Calls from desks can be traced back to the person that made them, that is the security we must have.

  • Suzu M

    Makes sense to me.

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