Updated: President Obama Keeping his BlackBerry

President Obama on his BlackBerry
By Kevin Michaluk on 22 Jan 2009 04:08 pm EST

*** Updated Yet Again: OK, so after CNN reported to everyone that it's probably a Sectera Edge Obama would switch to, it looks like it's actually a standard BlackBerry (his trusty old 8700?!) with a super encryption package added to it... a government agency that the Obama administration -- but that is probably the National Security Agency -- added to a standard blackberry a super-encryption package.... and Obama WILL be able to use it ... still for routine and personal messages. *

** Updated Again: Wow is this confusing. It seems that the mainstream media keeps using the term to mean "smartphone" and it's likely that even Robert Gibb's quote this morning referred to BlackBerry in a generic sense. I've now seen major media places (CNN, WSJ, etc.) now report conflicting stories. Even late in the day CNN continues to report he'll be getting the Sectera Edge (spy-roof device), which they still refer to as "getting to keep his BlackBerry". Hopefully it is a suped up Berry that Obama gets to use, as Engadget now reports (based on the White House annoucement quoted earlier). I wouldn't wish a Windows-mobile powered smarpthone upon my worst enemy! *

* Updated: January 22nd - Our CrackBerry tips email has been FLOODED with emails (thanks for sending in!) letting us know that President Obama will get to keep his BlackBerry for personal use. This word came through White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, who said on Thursday:

The president has a BlackBerry through a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends.

Good stuff. Now how is RIM going to work this into a marketing campaign?! For more details you can click here. Hopefully this concludes the will he get to keep it or does he have to give it up saga.

And to any of you who don't like these types of posts on CrackBerry - don't worry... there is no plan to post political stuff every day. But this is the CrackBerry Capital and this is news we need to report (or the emails would never stop coming in and we'd get drowned in em!). If you're not a fan, just scroll down to the next post. Thanks for the patience! *

The issue of whether or not Barack Obama would be allowed to continue using his BlackBerry once sworn in as President of the United States of America has been all over the mainstream media for the past few weeks.

What's the verdict? I don't think that has fully been decided yet, but Charles Ommanney for Getty Images for Newsweek got a picture of President Obama after the parade yesterday checking his email on his BlackBerry. This is after he went from being President Elect to the President. According to ABC World News ( via Mobile Crunch / BGR), it does looks like he'll be able to hold onto his BlackBerry for personal use... at least for now.

One thing is for certain, if Obama does have to give up his BlackBerry altogether, he won't do it without a fight. 

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Updated: President Obama Keeping his BlackBerry


I really don't care if he holds onto one or not, I mean it would be cool but what about updating that beast to something a little more current. Maybe a specialized bold without the camera?

having someone in my family who is in a high level Federal Gov. position, they were given 8800s because, at the time, they were not allowed to carry cell phones with cameras. An obvious security issue.. having a camera that is. What is strange now is that they have just been given the choice of either the Bold or Strom.. both of which have cameras. My family member took the Bold and now uses it daily. So something must have changed in the Fed. laws regulating the use of cameras on cell phones for Fed. employees.

I am not sure how true this is but it was once rumored that the 8800/8820 were actually developed specifically (initially) for Federal government employee use. It was also rumored that Fed. employees who are supplied cell phones or smartphones were going to get a version of the Bold minus the camera. Obviously that didn't happen. They just got the same Bold that we all can buy.

I started the process for TS Clearance and I was told that I could have a camera phone but, I had to surrendor it over to security for 1 day during work for them to do something to it, was not sure what they were going to do but, I know they had to have it. Needless to say, I am not with them right now and it was not because of phone or background, the position was never filled due to budgets.

As a BES Admin, we used to prohibit Blackberries with cameras for our datacenter staff, but a couple versions ago they added a new set of IT Policies wherein you can lock down the camera. I'm assuming they would do that for him so that he can have a Bold or Storm, but the camera would be useless. I had read somewhere else that the NSA didn't want him using it because of it didn't support all of the necessary encryption standards, but looking at my BES console, you can set it to full FIPS Level-2 encryption through the IT policies. Maybe someone has more insight into the exact complaints, beside the obvious one over presidential records...

I'm helping our IT dept in testing out 8330's to replace out 8703's and first thing we all noticed is the BES IT policy blocking... so that icon is just there to tempt us now :) I'm all for deleting the icon all together and getting a new back with the camera area covered so most users (who don't want the thing at all) wouldn't even know to care

Since all phones are coming with cameras now and you can't tell a contractor what phone he/she can't use, there are now secure rooms. No phones, ipods, iphones, thumb drives, etc. are allowed in these rooms. This solves the camera issue...

I still think it's too much of a security risk. With all the advisers on staff and secret service and others that are constantly around the President, I see no need for him to carry a blackberry because he is always up to date with information he needs through those people. Maybe he want's to play Nintaii during meetings :)

Now that's what you call a TURE CrackBerry Addict, like me, cause I'm not giving up my BlackBerry for nothing in the world, When TMobile got the Peral, I had that for week, then upgraded to the Curve 8320, and now I'm about to Upgrade to the New Curve 8900 which WILL be release on Febuary 11, 2009 for sure, from the TMobile Tech Rep Support. I would get a Storm or Bold but too Much Money for an Unlock phone anywhere from 800.00 to 1,000.00... Damn I'm not rich. LOL

as long as he doesn't mind sharing all of his emails with the whole world, no problem...it is public record once he is president, all communications are.

Obama needs a storm, a new president that will change the way we think about things needs a device that changes the way we think about blackberries!

If it were me, I'd have been checking it during the parade while I was walking down Constitution. He probably had it in the limo with him anyhow. Like millions of other Americans, he's an addict.

Nice to know it only took him a couple hours to causing trouble... Looks like he's off to a good start. Hope the nation is happy with the "change".

The only trouble the new President has is the trouble that he has to get us out of that the last President got us in to! Enough said on that!

Let's not even start with the Bush stuff. Bush wasn't perfect, but at least people had a reason for voting for him. He had a good history, and people knew where he came from. We haven't had any more attacks since 9/11. How many lives have been saved? We're doing a great job of eliminating high profile terrorists and working on getting a nation on their feet, AND he has saved more lives in Africa by funding AIDS programs than any other president in history.

What has Obama done?! He has a terrible voting record (on house bills), he's attended a "white America" hating church for 20+ years, and all he's done is run his mouth! People are voting on Hope! That's it! So what, he's a good speaker. We'll see if he's got anything in his tighty-whities. He's got the position, now DO SOMETHING!

Let's keep this focused on BlackBerries now, shall we?

Oppose that black guy and you're deemed an idiot... even though he has nothing to stand on except what everyone else has done wrong.

agree with the white guy and you become a racists and a "fanboy"

To many watchers of Oprah and the view.... get a clue and go look up Obama and what he has not done... see for yourself, we as a country are in trouble now.

couldnt agree more with you. every president makes mistakes. at least Bush was a more decent human being than obama will ever be.

Obama is already approving the closing of Guantanamo bay and doesnt even know where they are going to take the prisoners lol. we are royally screwed guys.

honestly, I don't see what the big deal is - as mentioned ALL presidential communications are public record...aside, of course for the classified stuff, which I guarantee you he is NOT checking/reading on his BB.
So, in regards to his personal communications - if he's got nothing to hide, then it's all a moot point.

First I am not an Obama fan, but he is my president and I don't think he is going to be off sharing National Secrets or anything like that. He is in the highest office and they treat him like a kid. Seriously if he feels like he wants to let the cat out of the bag there are a million ways he could do it. Maybe they should take away all of his pens and paper too. I hope the closed his AIM account and deleted his facebook too. I wonder if his kids still can have coloring books? I mean they may color a picture of a missile or something and we wouldn't want that right?

I wonder if his kids still can have coloring books? I mean they may color a picture of a missile or something and we wouldn't want that right?

Dude these are kids what is your problem. You thought that was funny cause I didnt, nice comment what if someone said something like that about your children. I hope you are happy with yourself. Have some dignity

How exactly do you find insult to his kids in that line? Its an insult on whoever feels the need to take away his BlackBerry. You must be quick.

Bill Ayers - Domestic terrorist, The Islamo-facist regimes, Dictator-in-chief Chavez of Venezuela, ACORN, foreign illegal campaign donors, Al Franken-stein, the HATE-AMERICA left wing liberals and algore.

There, I said it. The President of the United States doesn't need a Blackberry. There are dozens of people, up to and including the Chief of Staff and his personal secretary, who are supposed to filter, condense, and prioritize all communications with the POTUS. Surely, his number or his PIN will get out like Paris Hilton's and he is going to have to change it; it will become a headache. Also, he is going to have to be so careful with the messages he sends that it will be a headache to reach out to others.

My theory is that more important you are, and the farther up the ladder you climb, the less dependent you should be on constant streams of unfiltered information. At the top, you don't even need a phone--someone is always there to just hand you one. Of course, I have a Bold with about six email accounts, visual voicemail, push news, etc., so either my theory is wrong or I am slinking at the bottom of my particular food chain.

I'm sure the device will have some sort of proxy around it. You probably can't even send messages or pin request him without being on some sort of BES "guest list."

He's a dad too. He should be able to pick up his phone and send a message to his daughters whenever he wants. I doubt this will cause any legal or security problems.

I thought one of the reasons so many businesses turn to BlackBerry is for its efficiency and security. Regardless, who cares what phone he uses... I have way more important things to concern myself with...

His BB is only for personal use, therefore will not be available to the public. He'll be using a secure device for presidential related communications.

I thought the DOD was one of RIM's largest clients? Wouldn't they need to be just as secure, if not more, as the Pres.? Put him on a BES and lock him down!!! :)

Keeping his BB he should not have run for prez. In his speech yesterday he asked for sacrifice on the part of the American people. He could lead the way and give up the BB for the sake of the high office he sought.

Not to mention that he'll end up in trouble. Presidents have gotten into more trouble when they thought they weren't doing anything wrong and he'll end up with some emails and texts that help with some investigation down the road. Mark my words. It's why his advisors want him to lose it, and he should darn well listen to them!

Well put. Everyone is so quick to jump on the it's-not-Bush bandwagon. He's 24 hrs into his presidency and they're already making excuses for his stupidity. I can only imagine when the golden calf president does something more controversial, what kind of blind tolerance his fanboys will show.

I happen to think GWB was a GREAT president and I have high hopes for Obama as well.

I'm worried though that they will never hold Obama responsible for the decisions he makes. It will always be someone else's fault if it goes bad.

That worries me and if it continues he will not get my vote in four years.

I want a president not a cult of personality.

I agree 100% with what you said. I have a feeling that no matter what happens, the Obama fanboys will always show their faces and say that it was some other factor that prevented his "change" from occurring.

This discussion has gone totally sideways in my opinion. First of all, the only mistake I saw on his first day as President was the Chief Justice messing up the Oath of Office. Not President Obama. It was the Chief Justice who thought he could deliver the oath by memory... oops.. not the case! And, by-the-way, Obama had officially become President nearly 5 minutes before actually taking the oath.

As for today... I don't think freezing the salaries of his staff was a "mistake"... it was exactly what he promised. Locking down Gitmo is long overdue. General Powell has wanted Gitmo closed down years ago. That place is a complete disgrace to the American way of life. It goes against everything this country stands for and is a blight on our standing around the world. He can't shut it down fast enouth.

So lets see... the guy does everything he promised on the campaign trail.. and for that he is making mistakes? Give me a break. The only mistake was keeping George Bush in office after the election was over. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress should have installed President early, like they did in Roosevelt's case. Bush was a complete disaster.. now he leaves it to someone else to clean up his garbage. I think I would be less worried about the new President's BB and more about how all of us are going to get out of this mess. After all, he is only one man.. .not God!

"This discussion has gone totally sideways in my opinion."

You took it sideways. The mistake he's made and what we were discussing is him using a blackberry as president.

Since we're already on a tangent... As is the case with him and cigarettes, he has problems giving things up. It's one thing to be determined about something, and it's another to be addicted and not having the will power to give it up (smoking and blackberries). Sounds like a weak presidency in the making to me.

This is my concern as well.

He does not seem to like sacrifices himself but is sure going to ask that we make some.

I'll sacrifice when he quits smoking and/or gives up his BB.

Let's see if he can lead....

I honestly didn't realize he smoked until one night on the campaign trail he pulled out a cigarette in front of a news camera. Not sure he was aware he did that.. most likely just habit. None-the-less, it is a bad and unhealthy habit which he should not partake in. Knowing he is the role model for so many kids, especially his own, he should know better. My Dad smoked for 25 years, way before I came along, and stopped cold turkey one day when I was around 6 years old.. that was that. I think President Obama can and should do the same!

As for his Blackberry... well, basically, who really cares. I guess my focus is on more important matters of State and the economy. If the guy wants a BB then so be it. I will admit to a slight addiction with mine... but then again, my business requires a tool that can deliver my emails, text messages and phone calls at any time and any where. Seems that BB fills that requirement.. especially my new Bold!

To Marine One:
Nooo way...you actually think Bush was a great President? What are his approval ratings? Somewhere in the 20s? Jesus....how can you actually believe that?

Also, how can you call Obama weak? Have you not learned anything about him growing up? Dude started at the bottom of city politics in motherfucking chicago. And not in the fancy pants part. WHen he figured that wasn't working he went to Harvard Law and was the first black man to be HEAD of the Harvard Law Review.....He tops that off with a meteoric rise in national politics....

Dude, weak? Seriously.....try half of the things I just mentioned.....Obama is a machine....he can do anything he wants, as he's proven already..

Personally, I love the fact that President Obama has a BlackBerry and that he wants to keep it! Ordinarily I'm not one to think of someone having a BlackBerry as "sexy," but this is, in my view, a definite exception! :-)

I see how there might be potential concerns with President Obama's having one, but if he truly does want one - at LEAST/minimum for personal use, if he believes things to be safe and secure enough, let him make that determination and, thus, let him have it!

Arguments can be made for both sides though...

We're proud of you, Mr. President!
I am so glad you are leading us!

- Becky, a.k.a. SmeeBig7.

All the, "He doesn't need a Blackberry. It's too risky." naysayers must be forgetting who this is:

"Yes we can!"

I think the new president will take a dim view of human bricks who obstruct progress and focus on what cannot be done, instead of finding innovative ways to overcome difficult obstacles.

Only business-related communications are subject to the presidential records act, so his personal communications are safe (as long as sufficient security can be implemented). His aids need to be focusing on making that security happen, instead of trying to take away their boss' information lifeline.

What in the hell is wrong with you people? The more that you talk the, more ignorant that you reveal yourselves to be. This is not a political forum but let's leave it at the fact that phones have become a very important part of our lives (world wide) and he knows that with responsibility come sacrifices. Trust me he will make a mistake, just as every president before him has! So to the ones who love him, the non believers , the racist, the Hillary “fans” as well as the ones that believe that President Obama will do no wrong, I say, “grow up and live your lives to the fullest!!! Life is too short to get caught up in the BS of things. I have live for 31yrs on this place we call earth and the greatest lesson that I have learned through out them is. “There is only one thing that is consistent with life and that is CHANGE. “ Either adapt to it because it will not adapt to you, your really not that important!

Crackberry needs more Obama threads!!! Maybe if they post enough of them, eventually, half of crackberry.com will hate the other half.

Should be real fun. :(

I think everyone has different views and whether that be about the current president and him not giving up his blackberry or what your favorite blackberry is we can all agree to disagree. Any thread that has the current president in it or any political figure will usually have side conversations going on sooner or later.

Personally I think it's been kept pretty clean compared to past posts. I like reading what everyone has to say if it's good or bad.

I love Blackberry to death!! That guy, President will HAVE to give up or shut down his blackberry soon!! He have to!!!


I read an article in the Austin Statesman about this the other day. This was a point I'd not really thought of before. If he keeps his BlackBerry, every malicious government in the world will go into high-speed mode on figuring out how to crack the security of our BlackBerries. The longer we can put that kind of discovery off, the better we are.

Kevin did you post the story about McCain and Palin selling there Blackberries for 20 bucks and not wiping them, leaving sensitive info on campaign on them? First of all, are Blackberries that cheap, and how much would a McCain owned iPhone go for?

I love his determination & dedication to his Blackberry.

Its nice to have President with style & class!!

Barack Berry Babay!!


Just saw this on MSNBC and it seems that someone...probably the NSA has put a SUPER encryption in place. Henceforth he is allowed to keep his BB. WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I knew it wasn't going to be too far off until someone tried to turn this into a political forum. It's about a damn phone, NOT POLICY!

If any of you had read the post from this past weekend about Obama's Berry (http://crackberry.com/funny-side-obamas-blackberry-predicament) you would have come across a link to see what people in our government with top secret clearance use for a wireless device. The NSA refers to it as SME PED or Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device. It's called the Sectera Edge and it's capable of sending and receving Type-I encrypted messages (the governments highest form of encrpytion). It's the size of a brick and you could use it as a weapon if need be LOL
Check it out here: http://www.gdc4s.com/content/detail.cfm?item=32640fd9-0213-4330-a742-551...

My guess its Obama will use that for official government business and keep his BB for personal use, unless one of our clandestine organizations (CIA? NSA?) comes up with some secure software for BB's. Who knows?

And for who ever was trying to back up W's actions these past 8 years...You're a MORON. This country is falling apart...and no, I didn't vote for Obama.

"Working Class Hero" said, "... And for who ever was trying to back up W's actions these past 8 years...You're a MORON."

While it may be the current fad to blame all the world's problems on G. W. Bush, a sober discussion will reveal that he made both good and bad decisions. Perhaps some day when you have more life experience, you'll realize that there is a gray area between right and wrong, and just because you believe something doesn't make it fact. Other people sometimes see things that you don't, and when you close your mind to new ideas, you miss an opportunity to become wiser.

The way to convince people of the merit of your beliefs is through intelligent discourse. Nasty personal insults have the opposite effect, and they erode the credibility of your fellow BlackBerry & Obama fans.

I remember I was watching the inaugural parade on tv. Where I live the news channel was 11 and one of the reporters stated that they are going to let him keep it. They manage to get a secure device that costs $3,000. I'm pretty sure I heard correctly

On AC360 last night (on CNN), they reported that Obama had worked out a deal that will allow him to keep a Blackberry. The report indicated that he had "switched to a newer model with superior encryption capacities". They also implied that it would be restricted to exchanging personal emails. Not sure how that will play out, though.

Not sure if there are rules that forbid posting links to other websites, but CNN.com has a story this morning about Barack being approved to use a $3,350 smart phone called the Sectera Edge, made by General Dynamics. Seems the Secret Service is concerned that someone could track the President's location through the phone's GPS capabilities or that sensitive information could be compromised.

A simple search on Google finds pictures, specs, and details about the nifty device. It kinda looks like the Palm Treo.


What a clown. You are the President. Get rid of your phone and focus on what is important. If Bush did this there would be a witch hunt.

We are in a new era with Obama as President. He is the first "non-baby boomer" president. He is connected on many levels....BB, YouTube, etc. Other presidents have admitted to not knowing how to use the internet. I am glad to see he can keep his BB. More and more, we are going to see things go the way of newer and better technology than they have been in the past and I welcome it.

Just heard..He can keep it. There has been specially encrypted software installed so he an continue to keep in touch with family and friends. YEA!!

For a guy who's not been known to release records like everyone else I'm a little worried as to why he needs to keep his private blackberry. I've never heard of a presidents private correspondence being open to records requests or congress which is what his blackberry would fall under. His excuses for keeping it have been weak as there is no reason for him to keep it that cannot be duplicated.

maybe a limited eddition blackbnerry for obama should be made.
Guy is my hero.
Not because he is the first black president or because of all the change he will bring. but because of the fact that, EVEN after becoming president and taking on the biggest job in the world... all he could think about is..."oh god is the LED flashing red???...i felt it vibrate, i cant wait to get outta here so i can check my messages" a crackberry to the bone...

I guess American products, American people, and American ingenuity just aren't good enough for the prez. Bless the Frenchies.

Hey Gang,

Barry here. Just wanted you to know that I will be putting my own needs ahead of America's. I want yuaseahkej...

Darn, I messed that up. Time for a do-over. After a cigarette of course. I kind of like having the mulligan option. It's beginning to come in handy. I'll have to keep it in mind when my multi-billion dollar socialist bills fail.

Anyway, thanks for your interest in me keeping my Blackberry. Just wanted to pass along that if it wasn't for Crack, I wouldn't be where I am today.



Hate to burst the Blackberry Vibe, but technically hes not keeping his BB but switching to a smartphone Sectera Edge, made by General Dynamics and appears to be running on Windows Mobile from the screenshots

It's a General Dynamics Edge pda. $3,500 field proof, and super NSA level encryption. The Media is ridiculous and uses the term "blackberry" to mean any smartphone. So what RIM should do is put out a statement asking the media to cease using the term BlackBerry to refer to a device that is not a blackberry.

Personally I'm Glad the President of the United States will be allowed to keep his blackberry. As for security…Lets hope that a man who attends Harvard Law is smart enough not to send nuclear launch codes or other sensitive information on his Blackberry shall we. Is it really so much to ask that you be allowed to keep in contact with close friends, check the scores in the game, or see the pictures of your kids when you feel like it, or how about being able to shoot you wife a message asking what’s for dinner or what underneath that coat. Yeah you could ask one of the 10 or 15 people stand around you at all times of the day, but really they make $80,000 + a year. I’m sure we can finds something better for them to do. (do you really want that guy to know what’d under your wife’s coat.)

I mean this is the 21st Century and all things must evolve. we don't expect CEO's to work without email and a cell phone it's sad that we expect out government to.

Nice now the president has a blackberry. I heard he is also a mac user. So RIM can we please get a mac version of the desktop manager! I mean the only way for the president to get a berry was for emails not to go through waterloo. Therefore his emails prob go through some place in washington. So if RIM can change their structure to allow the POTUS to have a blackberry maybe they can make a mac desktop manager if he is a mac user ;)

Did you know why he can keep that "berry"? its because theres a childhood names on it see Berry :)

I just learned this too... I'm excited for President Obama!
(We all understand 'CrackBerry' addictions...)


Are you kidding about wishing a Windows based smartphone on your worst enemy? It would be so much easier to get a fix on their position since they'd stay on the line with tech support for hours.

The evening news confirmed the reports that President Obama will be issued a Sectera Edge for his time in office. They said that it's "two Blackberrys in one" (though I don't know if they meant that literally, or just that it's pretty much two PDA's in one). The device has great features though. Can anyone say one touch access to top secret emails, files secure phone calls?

In Barack Obama's White House, his BlackBerry is VIP
By Christi Parsons and Jim Puzzanghera | Tribune staff reporter
8:13 PM CST, January 22, 2009
WASHINGTON - He says he kicked his nicotine habit on the way to the White House, but President Obama still has a BlackBerry jones.

After once vowing that the Secret Service would have to pry the device out of his hands, Obama now has worked out an arrangement that lets him hang onto the tool despite the concerns of his security advisors.

Obama's new BlackBerry will come with software approved by U.S. intelligence officials, allowing him to communicate with friends, family and close associates without fear of hackers reading his private e-mail.

But given the issues it raises of public access to presidential correspondence, the decision also underscores Obama's devotion to technology. George W. Bush gave up personal e-mail upon entering office, fearing he would create a public record with every touch of the ``send'' button. Bill Clinton has been reported to avoid e-mail even today.

"With all due respect to Presidents Clinton and Bush, they didn't really grow up with these mobile devices," Roger Entner, a telecommunications analyst with the Nielsen Company, said of portable e-mail devices. "President Obama is like so many others of his generation—this is the device that helps determine how he perceives the rest of the world."

In that sense, the device could preserve for Obama some of what his job automatically precludes: direct contact with the workaday world. Even if he isn't scanning his own groceries or buying his own milk—former President George H..W. Bush was portrayed as out of touch with those markers of American life—he may be in casual contact with friends who are.

And he'll be doing so as do millions of other Americans, by way of thumbs on a keypad. While the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters that Obama would be keeping his BlackBerry, experts speculated that security concerns might force Obama to adopt another brand of smart phone, such as those used by intelligence agencies.

White House officials did not clarify which manufacturer's device Obama would use. BlackBerrys run on a closed network with an encryption function. FBI agents even use Berreys to share sensitive information.

Still, hackers can plant malicious software on a BlackBerry from afar. One existing piece of software, for example, can transform the device into a mini-radio receiver, allowing eavesdroppers to hear any conversations near it.

Others can detect the phone's location by way of signals it sends to nearby cellular towers, turning it into a homing device.

In fact, according to a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, at least 16 potential chinks in the BlackBerry's security armor have come to light since 2004. "Of course, the president's location is usually fairly publicly known#8212;he's within the White House or a building," said John Pescatore, vice president for Internet security at research firm Gartner Inc., who worked on communications security for the Secret Service in the early 1980s. "However, somebody could have the ability to figure out he's on this floor or that floor," he said.

Ultimately, the biggest concern may not be someone hacking into Obama's BlackBerry but targeting the devices of people he's communicating with, said Johannes Ullrich, chief research officer for the SANS Technology Institute in Bethesda, Md., which trains network security and system administrators.

Obama probably would not lose his BlackBerry, with dozens of Secret Service agents around to keep an eye on it. But if one of his e-mail correspondents lost his or her device, agents would not be there to scoop it up.

Security concerns are not the only consideration for Obama. Work-related communications of executive branch employees could become public records after the president's term is through.

Though the law includes narrow exemptions for strictly personal communications, aides to the president say they assume the electronic messages will become public. That prospect was enough to inspire George W. Bush to curtail his family e-mails. He said he did not send them to daughters Jenna and Barbara for fear that his "personal stuff" might end up in the public domain.

"It's e-mail, and it has to be saved under public records laws just like one he sent from a desktop," said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University and author of "White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Computer Messages the Reagan-Bush White House Tried to Destroy." "If you don't like that," Blanton said, "you might have to choose between being leader of the free world and having your BlackBerry."

Gibbs, in his debut briefing Thursday as White House press secretary, said that Obama sees the device as "a way of keeping in touch with folks, a way of doing it outside of getting stuck in a bubble."

Gibbs said he receives emails from the president that range from business matters to "why did my football team perform so miserably."

It's an elite group that can be trash-talked via Obama's Berry. Only a small circle of friends and senior aides will be trading electronic messages with the president, Gibbs said, declining to pass out Obama's e-mail address to reporters.

The information was hot news to the Washington crowd that jam-packed the briefing room for Gibbs' first performance as White House press secretary.

As soon as he made the pronouncement, reporters immediately began thumb-typing the news to editors. The news began to make its way through the Washington, fittingly, via BlackBerry.

cparsons@tribune.com jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

Its great if he indeed can keep it, but maybe its time to upgrade to a newer black berry and they put a great encryption bundle in it!!

Everyone here seems to think that the security issues have to do with things like nuclear launch codes but that isn't the issue. Security involves much more subtle issues. If he sends an email to a friend saying that he will probably see that person on Saturday and that individual lives in another state, city, etc. Then someone who would want to do the president harm would then be able to predict the President's future location (not good). Operational security is also as much about what you don't tell people as what you do tell them. You have to remember that people's lives (secret service, staffers, innocent civilians) depend on the president being somewhat unpredictable as far as schedule. The other issue is that he shouldn't be able to have a functional calendar on the device in case it is hacked. That's is just a glimpse at some of the security issues. No security program is perfect and anything can be hacked with enough effort. Just my thoughts.

to follow Kevin's request and shut the hell up about the sour grapes.


And people wonder why the conservatives have a bad name. Oh noes, the big bad black president has a BB and wants to keep it! Oh noes, now the right will have to switch to Palm for fear of looking like they support the big, evil Obama!

Anytime someone criticizes a liberal do you notice the hate speech that follows.

Typical liberal responses:
They are religious right fanatics
He/she is a racist,
You are ignorant/stupid
Rich, arrogant


Hey RIM think we need some BLUEBERRIES...bring it..."the more things change the more they stay the same...." Ha

Although I'll take a real WinMo device over a BlackBerry any day, I'll take a BlackBerry over a bulky, ugly and crappy Windows CE (the Sectera Edge does not run Windows Mobile). I do agree the President should upgrade to a BlackBerry Bold or Curve 8900 though.