Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Security Lapse: White House Posts Details of Obama Trip on Website [TWS]

    Details of President Obama's west coast trip this week, information usually reserved for pre-screened media outlets, were apparently inadvertently posted on the White House website for about 24 hours this weekend before being abruptly removed without comment on Monday morning.
    Last week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama would be traveling to Arizona on August 6th for a speech, then on to California on for a TV appearance with Jay Leno, as well as a visit to Camp Pendleton the following day to visit with the troops and their families.  For security reasons, the White House limits the amount of information available in advance of such trips, but members of the press receive more details to allow planning of coverage.  These details are often emailed to reporters, but with the understanding that the extra information will not be publicly disclosed.
    On Sunday, however, the White House posted two detailed releases regarding this week's trips.  Both releases include the warning "FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY, NOT FOR REPORTING." (Images of the releases reproduced below have been truncated to exclude the more sensitive information, and no links to the original documents have been provided.)

    Details not shown above include the gate number at the airport for media check-in; how to request permits for access, including email, phone and fax numbers; estimated times of arrival and departure for Air Force One; and previously unpublished phone numbers and an email address for White House Executive Office of the President personnel involved in logistical planning for such trips.  Also included are some technical details such as "throw" (distance from press area to podium) and "cable run" (distance relating to audio/video feed connections.)
    Although the publication of these details may be a comparatively minor security breach, the timing could not be worse with the Worldwide Travel Alert currently in place.  Fresh concerns about al-Qaeda and possible terror attacks should have all government officials on heightened alert, particularly those responsible for the safety and security of the president.
        The Weekly Standard contacted the White House via email Monday morning about the posting of the two press releases, and within an hour, both were removed from the White House website.  The White House did not respond directly to the email.

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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