The Washington Post

White House computers had floppy disk drives

Pre-Obama, White House computer systems were out of date. (IBM ARCHIVES)

Or close to it, according to the White House’s chief information officer. Brook Colangelo, CIO of the Executive Office of President, told an audience of fellow techies that during his first few days on the job, he realized that almost all of the technology being used was positively retro.

Colangelo said some computers even had floppy disk drives (insert gasps from the crowd), according to a Computerworld story about the speech, delivered to a technology convention in Phoenix. He had to deliver such outdated machines to top officials, including Rahm Emanuel, who was then Obama’s chief of staff.

According to Computerworld, “The White House CIO office had one data center and no redundancy,” he said, shortcomings that led to crashed e-mail servers and caused White House systems to be down about a quarter of the time in the administration’s first 40 days.

The systems have since been updated to meet 21st century standards — and perhaps the White House can find a museum that might be interested in displaying those noisy dot-matrix printers.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
This isn't your daddy's gun club
A look inside the world of Candomblé
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
The rise and fall of baseball cards
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
The art of tortilla-making
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How the new credit card chip makes purchases more secure