Personal cellphones banned in West Wing

2018-01-04 17:00
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white House (File, AP)

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Washington - The White House announced on Thursday that its staff and visitors will no longer be allowed to use personal cellphones in the West Wing, the nerve centre of the American executive branch.

The personal mobile phone ban will go into effect next week, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

She cited security reasons for the move but it comes amid an uproar over published comments about President Donald Trump and his family by former top White House strategist Steve Bannon.

"The security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration," Sanders said.

"Staff will be able to conduct business on their government-issued devices and continue working hard on behalf of the American people."

The West Wing houses the president's Oval Office and the offices of his closest aides.

Since taking office, Trump has repeatedly denounced leaks to the press from his team.

But the latest disclosures in a new book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" by journalist Michael Wolff, prompted Trump to say Bannon had "lost his mind".

Bannon was quoted in the book as saying Trump's son Don Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign manager Paul Manafort had been "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" for meeting during the campaign with a Kremlin-linked lawyer on a promise of dirt about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was," Trump said.

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