White House Bans Personal Phones in West Wing

January 4, 2018 Last Updated: January 4, 2018

The use of personal cell phones will be prohibited in the West Wing starting next week, the White House announced on Thursday, Jan. 4, citing security 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 on Thursday.

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

Sanders clarified that the decision was “not about leaks,” AP reported. There will be a place to store phones at the West Wing entrance, she added.

The West Wing of the White House is also known as the Executive Office Building. The seven-floor wing contains the offices of the president, chief of staff, press secretary, and vice president, among others. The building is home to the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, the Situation Room, the Roosevelt Room, and has a space for the White House Press Corps.

Diagram of the White House. (Sushiflinger and ZooFari [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons)
The White House is seen in Washington, DC on Aug. 22, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Roosevelt Room of the White House is seen after renovations on Aug. 22, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Oval Office of the White House is seen after renovations including new wallpaper on Aug. 22, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly led the effort to ban cellphones, according to Bloomberg. Kelly’s phone was compromised by hackers last year. The change was announced in November last year and is now being implemented.

Although President Trump has complained about leaks, the ban is being implemented due to cybersecurity concerns, one official told Bloomberg. Two many phones are connected to the White House wireless networks at any given time and personal phones are not as secure as government-issued devices.

The West Wing underwent a major renovation during the summer last year with an upgrade of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, the South Portico steps, the kitchen, and the lobby.

Workers lay new carpeting in the hallway between the Lower and Upper Press Offices during renovation work at the White House on  Aug. 11, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The Oval Office sits empty and the walls covered with plastic sheeting during renovation work at the White House on Aug. 11, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A coil of cables pokes through the floor in the Oval Office during renovation work at the White House on Aug. 11, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

From NTD.tv