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In The Loop
Posted at 11:26 AM ET, 04/17/2013

Why Obama’s chief of staff is anti-Blackberry, iPhone

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (Chris Usher)
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was hit last week with two lengthy, insidery — and quite favorable — reviews of his tenure after 10 weeks on the job.

The pieces, by Buzzfeed and by Bloomberg, conclude he’s a driven, indefatigable and no-nonsense head of White House operations.

Each notes his tight rein on senior staff meetings and on the occasionally overly talkative people who attend them. McDonough was “known for his preoccupation with proper, formal process,” at the National Security Council, Buzzfeed wrote, and he’s “imported from [there] a ban on Blackberrys and other smartphones at staff meetings.”

“He doesn’t allow BlackBerrys in his office,” Bloomberg tells us. “Everyone entering must park their communication devices in the cabinet outside the door, the same rule as in the Situation Room, where security was paramount.”

And it still is. We hear the top reason McDonough bans phones owes more to worries over cybersecurity than efficiency. The goal is not having people in, say, Beijing become part of the conversation.

By  |  11:26 AM ET, 04/17/2013

Tags:  Obama, White House, Denis McDonough, Buzzfeed, Bloomberg, BlackBerrys, cybersecurity, Al Kamen, Emily Heil, In the Loop

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