Obama and his Blackberry: parting isn’t a sweet sorrow at all
But it could be a necessary sorrow. Leslie recently wrote a piece on Tech.Blorge.com suggesting that Obama, an avid user of his hip-holstered Blackberry, might have to give it the boot once he is sworn into office.
The reason he”ll most likely have to abandon his beloved handset really has very little to do with compromising national security or anything like that. If he were to choose to keep his Blackberry, there is little doubt that it would simply be a medium of correspondence with those closest to him — friends, family and loved ones.
The problem with keeping his Blackberry, if he so chooses, is that the records of his communication would be completely accessible by Congress if they chose to investigate his communications. The legislation that would allow for this, the Presidential Records Act, was enacted shortly after the Watergate Scandal of Reagan”s presidency. Reagan claimed executive privilege, which allows the president to withhold information within the executive branch to keep Congress from acquiring the taped slot maschinen recordings regarding the scandal.
However, as the Supreme Court found, the president only has the right to withhold information that could compromise national security or involves sensitive information which, if released to the public, could be detrimental to the country. Since that precedent was established, there has been little dispute that the private communications of the executive are fair game, and subject to subpoena by Congress.
It would be a pretty fair bet to make that if Obama chose to keep his Blackberry, there will be some politicians very interested in finding out exactly what he”s saying on it. However, it is important to note that there really isn”t anything explicitly barring him from using it.
In fact, choosing to keep his Blackberry might be beneficial to the executive office. If Obama were to keep his Blackberry, in spite of common knowledge that it could be subject to seizure by Congress, Obama could project a transparency and normalcy that hasn”t been seen in the presidency to date. Obama could be seen as open and honest, simply because he chooses to keep his Blackberry, even if the Democratic-controlled Congress doesn”t sift through his conversations.
Personally, I”d like to see Obama keep a laptop in the Oval Office and a Blackberry at his hip. He has displayed great competency in communicative mediums thus far, and he can make a huge impact on the adoption of new technology, social media and communications by breaking the mold during his tenure. Parting doesn”t have to be sweet or sorrowful. Just refuse to part.