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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."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 26, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , New Media , White House  
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Seems the Bushies weren't having any trouble with the email system before 1/20/09. Maybe the Obambettes should stop whining and act like grownups.

Posted by: ctmom | January 27, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

So the Bushies hand over a decrepit barely functional e-mail system to the Obama administration. Just goes to show you. The Bush administration was all bark and no byte!

19th century ideology, 20th century policies, 21st century disaster.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 27, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

archaic - as in, PCs with XP (circa 2001) instead of Windows Vista. Just like most of the country.

Or maybe they mean they're using office 2003, also the software in use by 98% of businesses.

Isn't there some virus writer they could hire a la Geithner?

Posted by: lug21 | January 27, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Does the White House not use have a disaster plan in place for their email server?...

Posted by: untmarkb | January 26, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Republicans want to run government 'like a business' but they don't want it to pay business salaries or provide it with up to date business tool.

Bush and his fellow Republicans ran the government into the ground for because of their ideological hatred of government and to further their friends. Good riddance.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 26, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't tell me...


Posted by: SAINT---The | January 26, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: scrivener50 | January 26, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Nice one White House. You are a shining star on how to bungle incident communication. Thanks to your concern for communication but not security, we now know that the White House runs Microsoft Exchange (Outlook server does not exist). Thanks lads!

Posted by: William10 | January 26, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Has the new White House chief technology officer (CTO) been named yet? I'm sure it is hard to find someone because they will be taking a mega pay cut -- but please, tech industry barons, your government REALLY needs you! Just read this article as one small symptom of the problem, and please come on board.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | January 26, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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