White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has begun to crack down on his own staff through random phone checks in order to put a lid on the Trump administration’s leak problem.
The effort to determine the source of the White House leaks comes after a week where President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked the media for using anonymous sources. Trump also expressed his frustration with the fact that there is at least one person in his administration that is partaking in unauthorized sharing of information. Additionally, last week, Spicer was made aware that information had leaked out of a prior planning meeting with some of his communications staffers. According to Politico, in order to remedy this, he reportedly reconvened the group to voice his frustration over the amount of information that has been leaked to the media.
During this “emergency meeting” meeting, however, staffers were reportedly told by Spicer, and White House lawyers, to leave their phones on a table or a “phone check” to show that they had nothing to hide.
As Politico reports,
“There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Presidential Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.
The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal cellphones.”
Furthermore, the White House Press Secretary issued a warning to those in attendance that if more problems would ensue if news of the phone checks, as well as the meeting itself, was leaked to the media. However, Spicer’s crackdown is just the latest symptom of mounting tension, uncertainty, and dysfunction within the Trump White House.