January 22nd, 2009
03:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Access to 'BarackBerry' limited to small, select group

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/22/art.barackberry0122.gd.jpg caption="President Obama's new smartphone is reportedly a Sectera Edge made by General Dynamics."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It’s likely to be the most exclusive e-mail list in the world: Just who will rate access to the presidential smartphone?

“The president has a BlackBerry,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday, clearing up weeks of speculation about whether President Obama would be able to hold on to a cherished method of communicating.

Watch: Obama gets a special PDA

The decision to allow Obama to carry a smartphone is “a compromise that allows him to stay in touch with senior staff and a small group of personal friends,” Gibbs told the media in his first press conference since inauguration.

“Use will be limited and the security is enhanced to ensure his ability to communicate but to do so effectively,” Gibbs also said. “And to do so in a way that is protected.”

Gibbs said the 44th president’s e-mail traffic will – with some exceptions – be preserved for historical purposes.

“The presumption regarding those e-mails is that they’re all be subject to the Presidential Records Act,” said Gibbs, who added there are “some narrow exemptions” in the law for “strictly personal communications.”

The press secretary refused to provide any more details about the new president’s use of his new PDA, already being referred to as the “BarackBerry.”

Although Gibbs specifically mentioned the BlackBerry, Obama’s device is reportedly a Sectera Edge, a model from General Dynamics that is capable of encrypting top secret voice conversations and classified documents.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Charles Atlanta

    Gee. I want one too.

    January 22, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Joe in NJ

    "This is the good news forAmerica for Obama to keep his blackberry because he will be in touch with really world above all and really ordinary folks."

    Yes, that's right. In fact, I just sent him an email.

    January 22, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. arc, Lugano CH

    Jon in CA January 22nd, 2009 4:55 pm ET
    No doubt Obama's fav-five will include: Blago, Rezko, Ayers, Hawaii Dept of Birth Records, and his attorney.
    California Port-a-John:

    Now was that truly necessary? Kind of weak, don't you think? Even you must agree after reading your own post a second time.

    There aren't going to be any Victoria's Secret spreads of your heroine in her upcoming book, big guy. You'll need to satisfy your conservative Mother/Victim fantasies urges some other way, pervert.

    January 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. CP Berry

    Only a fool would even attempt to hack the President of the United States Blackberry, or post the email/phone number on the Internet, if one of the privileged few given the information. Come on' folks...he is NOW the President of the United States and therefore very powerful person. Don't be naive!

    January 22, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Mark

    There are a ton of idiots that leave posts here.

    January 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. KampBell_BrOwn SUx

    Just wanted to say that ED HENRY SUCKS, IS a Liar and is a sore loser!

    January 22, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Nobama in NC

    Yea this is definately a good thing..... Couldnt be more opposed to supporting someones addiction and habit that could cost this nation some valuable information, but hey it Osama the Messiah, everything he touches turns to gold I hear??

    January 22, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. bsmith171

    exceptions: who approved those?

    January 22, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Ken Sawyer

    Well they don't need the "football "anymore cause everyone loves us now. He needs to carry something.

    January 22, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Bayer

    People with narrow minds will never grow. People with open minds are the ones that revolutionize the world.

    Kudos to you Mr. President!.

    January 22, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Jon in CA

    Arc, Lugano CH,

    Get used to it!

    After 8 years of liberal Bush-Bashing... us conservatives will GLADLY give it back. Or are you the brand of limp-wristed liberal who gets your f-e-e-l-i-n-g-s hurt if someone quips about your dear messiah?

    January 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Matt

    @ Joe in NJ

    Really? You just sent him an email? Enjoy your interrogation.

    January 22, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. daniel cabrera

    Who is he going to call ? , terrorist friends? God help us!
    Hey!, The CIA is equal ZERO now fo we need a real soldier there and he put a wimp,...Holder is a terrorist advocate,...Geithner is a thief and he is the head of the national treasury?

    I do no tabout you but to me this look like a dark nasty conspiracy wide open (paradoxicaly ) to erase this nation from power.


    I do not expect nothing good, ...do you ?

    Think about this.

    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana

    January 22, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. liz

    doesnt it increase the likely hood of tampering if the public knows the model of phone? why don't they just publish the phone number too?

    January 22, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Jane

    Why is this news? In today's technology driven world, it would be news if Obama didn't have a blackberry. Perhaps the problems of the economy and foreign policy are too boring for Obama and this is somehow news for the white-house.
    Stop wasting tax-payer money on bailouts and frivolous news and get to solving real problems.

    January 22, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Mike

    Oh my.. this is the change I voted for.. a president can have a blackberry!

    January 22, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Ian

    "Gibbs said the 44th president’s e-mail traffic will – with some exceptions – be preserved for historical purposes."

    Just like the Republicans used personal email accounts and "lost" emails, I'm sure we'll see more of the same here.

    January 22, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. Rick

    This is great I am glad President Obama is using BlackBerry. That will ensure transparency and everything he sends via his BlackBerry will be public information. I think he is setting a great example. I cannot wait to see what he says to his internal organization. I just hoped no one can hack his BlackBerry. Barack is sooooo cool.

    January 22, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |

    I see we still have some people who haven't realized that the election has been over for some time now and that President Barack Obama is in fact the President of the U.S. so to all those sore losers and rush limbaugh or how ever his last name is spelled the realization is you can say what ever you like but please KNOW THIS, YOU ARE SOOOOOOO IRRELEVANT!!! Please Believe It!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 09/13

    January 22, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. Suzi

    President Obama wanted to continue being in touch with people and not isolated in the White House as other presidents have experienced. And they needed a special phone so that he couldn't be tracked when he did email or phone plus the transmission would be secure.

    We're in a new world now – a global community with ever evolving technology that connects all of us. President Obama is looking for solutions to every condition and not living in the past. That's how we are going to move ahead and why he was elected.

    Good for him for getting this tool which will help him govern more effectively.

    January 22, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. galaxy

    party' ...even the president of the united states of america deserves a bit of freedom

    January 22, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. Ray

    What? No camera?!?!

    January 22, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Manny fm Chicago

    for everybody thinking that people will try to hack the presidents black berry...and for those who think that they might want to try...do just a little research about what happens when you try to hack the pentagon. Anybody responding with obama having a mobile device is a security threat obviously are not in the 21st century with the rest of modern man. People wake up and stop with the hate, common sense will tell you that if you try to hack the device you will go to jail. Just like common sense will tell you if you try to hack the pentagon you will go to jail. I work in IT and there are many...many....let me say it again many ways that you can secure a device to make it have less of a foot print to be available to hack, couple that with the fact that it would probably be considered treason or something like that...i think only idots would try. Who knows, it may take a few numbskulls going to jail for 20 years before everybody gets the message.

    January 22, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. Amber

    Daniel Cabrera at 5:40 pm –

    From one crazy person to another, medication is supposed to be taken consistently. If you start and stop taking medication and start again, then it allows your brain chemistry to yo-yo even more dangerously than when you were first diagnosed.

    January 22, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Pam

    I fail to understand even remotely why this is important in the scheme of things !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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