They can tap all our phones, but can’t figure out email?
The Bush administration came under fire for losing its emails. Almost a week into his presidency, Barack Obama’s administration can’t get its email addresses to work at all. Emails to Obama’s top press officials bounced back Monday, and Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, told Mother Jones that he could give reporters his email address, but “it wouldn’t do any good,” since the White House email system isn’t working. What about those Gmail addresses the Obama press team set up last week to handle press requests while the system was being set up? Those won’t work, either, says Shapiro, because you can’t access Gmail from White House computers. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs promised during Monday’s press briefing that he would “endeavor to fix the email system,” but gave no time frame for that to happen.
The fact that it took “heroic” efforts on the part of the OA’s web and IT team to even get the new WhiteHouse.gov off the ground is worrying, although scarcely surprising for people who followed the Bush administration’s tech problems. A story by the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut last Tuesday indicated that the Obama team arrived to find the White House in the “technological dark ages.” For people who worked on the most tech-savvy presidential campaign in history, moving into the White House was undoubtedly a huge adjustment: no Macs, no Facebook, no Gmail, few laptops, and, apparently, no email (yet).
As someone with first hand knowledge of government IT, this doesn’t surprise me a bit. In fact, I’m stunned they aren’t using quill pens and parchment.