White House bars employees from using personal cell phones in West Wing

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The White House announced Thursday that it is banning employees and guests from using personal cell phones in the West Wing, citing security and technology concerns. 

“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 Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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

The move comes amid growing concerns about leaks from the White House, though this was not cited as a reason for the new ban. 

Although the ban will include official visitors, it is not expected to apply to members of the press.

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman first reported on the ban Wednesday night, tweeting that staffers were told “early in the term” but only now is it being enforced.

Bloomberg News reported that the ban was imposed by Chief of Staff John Kelly, who has taken steps to impose order and discipline at the White House since he took the role in July.

A White House official told Bloomberg there are too many devices connected to the White House wireless networks, and personal cell phones are not as secure as government-issued devices.

The ban comes less than 24 hours after President Trump launched a blistering attack on forner White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, accusing him of spreading “false information” to the media. His statement was in response to excerpts that surfaced from Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” in which Bannon slams members of Trump’s family and inner circle.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown and Jon Decker contributed to this report.

 

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