White House experiences email outage, printer malfunction

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Internet problems getting you down? Worry not (or do the opposite), because it happens to the White House from time to time as well.

An outage affecting unclassified White House email accounts started Thursday morning and lasted until mid-afternoon, the Washington Post reported Thursday. Reporters quickly took notice Thursday morning after emails sent to regularly responsive correspondents went unanswered.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer confirmed the outage via Twitter in the afternoon:

“FYI: WH unclassified email went down shortly before 8 AM. Verizon is working to solve the problem. Pool reports will be avail in press office,” Pfeiffer wrote.

Nevertheless, officials resorted to calling or meeting in person with reporters, both of which practices have become increasingly rare.

The email outage wasn’t the only mechanical White House malfunction that day. The heat went out in at least one part of the building, so some officials with fireplaces in their offices started fires to keep warm. Several senior officials claimed they could not print or access any documents, not even the files that were not connected to e-mail.

Even Blackberry fiend President Barack Obama, who visited State College, PA on Thursday, was cut off from email during his trip. One adviser described the incident as similar to “a snow day,” because no one was getting a whole lot done.

Sources told the Post that the outage did not affect classified email accounts of officials monitoring the Egypt protest situation.

The glitch was fixed in the afternoon, as messages written Wednesday night were finally sent and pool reports were back in electronic form.