House oversight committee chair Darrell Issa is worried White House staffers could use their nifty iPads to send office emails and this duck federal records-keeping laws, the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein reports. Those laws were passed after Watergate, long before Gchat became the best way to tell coworkers the kind of joke that could get you fired--or a president impeached. So Issa's is holding hearings on how to update the laws for the digital age.
White House staffers don't face restrictions on their personal products. White House staffers have to forward any work-related emails done with personal accounts to their work addresses. But Issa is concerned that that rule can't be policed--especially, we're guessing, with one White House worker in particular: President Obama who thrilled tech blogs last month when he was spotted carrying an the First iPad tucked under his arm in the photo above.
Today an umsmiling Issa brandished an offending iPad at the hearing, asking White House Chief Information Officer Brook Colangelo, "Are any of these carried into the White House?"
Colangelo: "iPads, sir?"
Colangelo: "We have not deployed iPads for enterprise use..."
Issa, grumpily cutting in: "Are any of these carried into the White House? Have you ever seen one of these in the White House?"
Issa: "So people carry a product which circumvents your entire system by going to the AT&T network on a daily basis in the White House, isn't that true?"
It was true, Colangelo said. Here's a picture of Obama circumventing the government's entire system while sitting at his Oval Office desk.
As Obama told Univision's Jorge Ramos, "I'm the president of the United States. You think I've got to go borrow somebody's computer? 'Hey man, can I borrow your computer? How about you? You got one?'" It makes sense that in 2011, one of the youngest presidents in history would Gchat. But it also makes sense that Republicans' top watchdog would try to read them.
Video of the hearing, which Issa posted on Facebook: