Washington, Nov.17 : U.S. President-elect Barack Obama may have to give up using his much loved Blackberry mobile phone because of Congressional and court-related legal strictures.
U.S. law allows Congress and the country's courts to subpoena e-mail issued by a serving President, and subject them to the scrutiny of public records laws. There may also be security issues about carrying around trackable cell phones.
Though no decision has been made by the Obama transition team on what Obama will or will not carry, the Washington Times quotes insiders as saying that Obama "may be in for some withdrawal pains."
Obama has often been seen avidly checking his e-mail on his handheld equipment.
"This is a decision President-elect Obama will have to face," an agency report quoted former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, as saying, and adding that Obama''s legal advisers would probably recommend against an e-mailing president.
"While he has pledged an open and transparent government, I doubt the president-elect is interested in subjecting his own personal communications to that standard. He will have to think very hard about whether he wants to make his own words that subject to open records by having his own e-mail and his own BlackBerry," McClellan wrote in an e-mail interview.
There is presidential precedent for an e-mail blackout. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton didn''t e-mail while in office.
Before 2001, Bush was an active e-mailer, but that was before the now ubiquitous Blackberry with e-mail and text message functions was released in 2002. According to McClellan, Bush was unhappy about losing his e-mail and mostly used the phone to talk to friends.