Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sean Spicer's attempt to crackdown on White House leaks immediately leaked to press

Staff were ordered to hand over their phones to be checked and were told not to say anything to the media about it

White House Communications Director Sean Spicer. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
White House Communications Director Sean Spicer. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

May Bulman

White House press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly ordered that all staff hand in their phones to be checked in an effort to crack down on leaks, according to information leaked to the press.

Mr Spicer told a group of communications aides that he was unhappy that information from his past meetings with them was being reported in the media, according to Politico.

He expressed his frustration over the number of private conversations and meetings that were showing up in unflattering news stories, sources in the room at the time reportedly said.

On entering Mr Spicer’s office for what has been described as “an emergency meeting”, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check“ to prove they had nothing to hide, reported Politico.

The checks were said to have included all electronic devices members of staff were carrying when they were summoned to the impromptu meeting after information discussed at a previous planning meeting was leaked.

The staff were reportedly told not to reveal anything about the attempted crackdown.

It comes a week Donald Trump launched a fierce attack on the media, strongly criticising news outlets for using unnamed sources in stories and branding them “a great danger to the country”.

In his first address as President to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Mr Trump claimed the media invents stories about him and his government.

Several days later, after a number of major news organisations including CNN, the BBC, the the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times were barred from a White House press briefing, Mr Trump said “fake news media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth”.

Independent News Service

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