White House E-Mail System Goes Down
By Michael D. Shear
It's more than five hours and counting now since the entire White House e-mail system went down.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced the technical snafu at his 1:30 p.m. briefing, apologizing to the media for the e-mail silence this afternoon.
The result is maddening for the new White House team, which already has been frustrated with the archaic communications gear they discovered when they arrived at their offices.
White House aides had just switched over from their transition e-mails this weekend, finally handing out their new, government e-mail addresses when the outage hit.
Both outgoing and incoming mail are out, the result, an aide explained, of an outage with the Outlook server. The aide said the outage goes beyond the press shop. The first lady's office is also without e-mail, as are other offices.
There was no indication when the e-mail service would return. For the moment, the press office is making even more use of the loudspeaker in the briefing room.
And the executive orders that President Obama signed this morning were photocopied and are sitting on a table outside the briefing room.
As to other, more sophisticated communications equipment at the White House -- including systems that might be found in the Situation Room -- an aide said: "We don't comment on security issues."
Posted at 3:30 PM ET on Jan 26, 2009
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