Mattis expected to tighten cellphone restrictions within Pentagon building

Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected Friday to order a tightening of security policy governing military and civ...

Posted: May 18, 2018 6:24 AM
Updated: May 18, 2018 6:24 AM

Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected Friday to order a tightening of security policy governing military and civilian personnel bringing cellphones into classified workspaces in the Pentagon, according to two US defense officials.

Mattis has been reviewing the issue of cellphones in the building for several months. Consideration had even been given to banning all cellphones inside the Pentagon by the more than 20,000 personnel, as well as news media and visitors who come to the building. CNN's Ryan Browne was first to report the cellphone review.

A complete ban had been deemed unrealistic because of the need for people to be able to communicate. For now, there will be stricter enforcement of existing security measures.

Cellphones, and other devices that could lead to eavesdropping or location tracking, will have to be put into small lockers in corridors outside classified areas, the officials said, and will not be permitted in portions of the building where classified discussions are held or classified material is stored.

In areas not involving classified spaces, devices will be permitted. Journalists working in the Pentagon will still be allowed to have phones.

Security personnel will monitor areas for compliance with the policy and potentially use electronic scanning equipment to ensure there are no devices in banned areas. If this policy does not work, additional measures could be taken in the future, the officials said.

Many US military installations and security agencies already ban cellphones in their buildings.

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