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Obama's White House suffers email outage

Staff using photocopiers after Outlook server crashed

Less than a week after Barack Obama was sworn in as US President, the White House suffered an email outage.

The White House emails rely on an Outlook server that apparently crashed, but the administration didn't explain the exact cause of the outage.

The email blackout is a little embarrassing to the new president, whose campaign embraced all forms of technology and made masterful use of it to raise funds, organise volunteers and disseminate information. Obama himself is notorious for his BlackBerry addiction. And he has committed to having traceable emails so he doesn't wind up like his predecessor George W. Bush, whose administration lost thousands of them.

However, for now, Obama's staff have been reduced to using ancient technologies such as photocopiers to create print-outs where attachments would usually be sent.

Bloggers were having fun with the predicament.

"Maybe that's why Robert Gibbs [press secretary] won't return your e-mails - actually, that's not why he won't return your e-mails, but at least now he has an excuse," says Mark Ambinder in his blog.

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"Or maybe Mr. Obama's top-secret Blackberry had thrown a kink into the works," suggests the New York Times' Caucus. "Whatever the reason, Mr. Gibbs insisted it was no crisis, and seemed to see an upside in being disconnected - at least for the time being. 'I've had the calmest morning I've had in about five years,' he said."

"Sorry dudes all the resumes you sent to the White House this morning were not received, because George Bush broke the emails before he left office," Wonkette wrote.

While the problem had its lighter side, the administration wouldn't comment on whether the problem extended to other systems. "We don't comment on security issues," one aide is quoted as saying.

See also: Obama hacked as Trojan exploits official website


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