Ex-NSA Tech: Obama's Smartphone Caused Security Headaches

Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:05 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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Technical experts had grave security concerns when President Barack Obama insisted on getting a BlackBerry six years ago, a former NSA specialist says.

"It just really bothered a lot of people -- nobody wanted to put anything out there that wasn't completely secure," retired NSA technical director Richard "Dickie" George said in an interview with CNNMoney.

George said his job was to carefully check the phone's algorithms and write and engineer diagrams.

The report says for that one request, the National Security Agency had to set up its own lab with dozens of technical experts to work on Obama's phone for months in 2008.

Anything that could have breached presidential communication or was a threat in any way had to go and that included the Angry Birds game, the CNN story says.

"You try to get rid of any functionality that's not really required. Every piece of functionality is an opportunity for the adversary," the report quotes George as saying.

In March, The Verge reported that Obama was thinking about switching up to an Android.

The White House Communications Agency and an "internal technology team" are said to be checking out models by Samsung and LG.

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