President Obama has been struggling to hold onto his Blackberry in the face of security concerns and the Presidential Records Act. It seems he has succeeded, sort of. According to reports, Obama will get a new "smartphone" called the Sectera Edge.
The news was first reported by Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic:
On Monday, a government agency that the Obama administration -- but that is probably the National Security Agency -- added to a standard blackberry a super-encryption package.... and Obama WILL be able to use it ... still for routine and personal messages.
It's not clear whether he yet has the device.
With few exceptions, government Blackberries aren't designed for encryption that protects messages above the "SECRET" status, so it's not clear whether Obama is getting something new and special. The exception: the Sectera Edge from General Dynamics, which allows for TOP SECRET voice conversations.
The messages, like other White House communications, will kept from the public for the duration of his presidency, if not longer.
The company says on its Web site the Edge was developed for the NSA's "Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device program," and is "certified to protect wireless voice communications classified Top Secret and below as well as access e-mail and websites classified Secret and below."
CNN explains that the Secret Service is wary of email, for fear that it could be hacked by foreign spy agencies or that sensitive information could leak out in other ways.