The White House on Thursday announced it has banned employees from using their personal cellphones while at work at the White House campus.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the ban will go into effect next week because “security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration.”
As such, Sanders noted that “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 on behalf of the American people.”
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) January 4, 2018
The government-issue phones reportedly don’t allow texting, and some staffers are concerned this new rule will make it harder for them to keep in touch with their families, should the need arise.
While President Donald Trump has often complained about information leaks in his administration — and the White House has been considering a personal cell phone ban since November — the Thursday decision appears to have been prompted by news that author Michael Wolff has recordings of interviews he did in the West Wing with top Trump officials.
Axios reported that Wolff has hours of interviews with former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh. Some of Bannon’s quotes from the book — in which he was critical of Trump and called Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians in 2016 “treasonous” — were published in reports on Wednesday, leading Trump to attack and attempt to discredit Bannon in a statement.
According to Axios, the White House tried to discredit Wolff — who spent time in Reince Priebus’ office when he was chief of staff — by saying he had only been given access to the West Wing fewer than 20 times. And though many officials thought they were speaking off the record, the tapes could make it difficult for the administration to deny what’s alleged in Wolff’s upcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”