Karl Rove was the only White House staffer with a BlackBerry on
September 11, 2001.
Rove writes in his memoir, “Courage and Consequences,” that he had kept his BlackBerry “from the campaign in order to be able to send and receive messages without violating the Hatch Act. At the same time, the White House Communications Office had nixed BlackBerry [devices] for official business because they were still trying to figure out how to keep the White House’s e-mail traffic secure.”
It’s a marked change from the current administration, when President Barack
Obama famously fought, and won, a battle to keep his hand-held device.
Rove notes that he was on Air Force One with several other staff members on the day of the attack and since the plane’s phones were tied up with official business, several of them borrowed his BlackBerry to type out emails to their families that would be sent when the plane passed over a cell phone tower.
Rove writes: “I’ve wondered since that day why the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines force passengers to turn off their wireless devices. My BlackBerry didn’t interfere with the operation of Air Force One on September 11.”