After Omarosa Manigault Newman revealed last month that she secretly taped White House chief of staff John Kelly as he fired her in the Situation Room, a change was made to the West Wing’s phone policy.
Going forward, staffers would not be allowed to leave their phones — even the government-issued ones — in lockers in the small entry area outside the Situation Room, as they had done for the previous 19 months of the administration. Instead, staffers were directed to go back and put their White House-issued devices in their offices or alongside their personal phones in lockers stationed near the West Wing entrances before being buzzed into the Situation Room.
This change was made quietly, but two senior administration officials told CNN they believed it was in direct response to the news that Manigualt Newman had taped Kelly.
The change in policy, which has not been previously reported, signifies yet another White House effort to stop embarrassing information from leaking out. It comes amid a heightened sense of paranoia in recent days due to the release of a damaging tell-all book from the veteran journalist Bob Woodward and an anonymous op-ed from an author The New York Times described as a senior administration official.
The move is the second significant change in phone policy since Kelly first implemented a ban on personal phones in the West Wing in January.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
President Donald Trump and his senior aides haven’t been able to stem the flow of damaging information despite active efforts to flush out leakers. Trump’s longstanding notion that some of his staff are actively working to undermine him was amplified with the release of Woodward’s book and the op-ed questioning his leadership ability.
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SOURCE: CNN, Kaitlan Collins