Issa says White House employees can use iPads to circumvent records act 

Waving an iPad while questioning an official from the Obama White House, House Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said that administration employees could "circumvent" federal law on presidential record-keeping by using such electronic devices to send official emails from private accounts.

Back in 1978, in the post-Watergate era, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act to preserve White House communications. But a lot has changed in the past 33 years, and on Tuesday the committee held a hearing about updating the law in an era of texting, instant messaging and social networking.

The legislation "never envisioned Facebook and Twitter," Issa said.

The chairman asked one witness, White House Chief Information Officer Brook Colangelo, whether White House employees could bring iPads into work, thus enabling them to send communications, such as to the Democratic National Committee, through personal Gmail and Hotmail accounts using an outside AT&T network.

Coangelo said that employees were "not restricted" as to the personal items they could bring into the White House.

David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), said he was "not comfortable" with the current system.

During his opening statement, he referenced  a NARA report that warned, "(t)he web landscape is evolving so rapidly that if we neglect to address these issues, we risk losing the truly valuable materials created by the Federal government."

Though he noted a number of changes that could be made to update the law, Ferriero noted that, "Ultimately, responsibility for records management will always rest to some degree with individual federal employees, no matter what systems are in place. That was true in an era of exclusively paper records, no matter what systems are in place."

Employees who use personal email for business comunications are supposed to forward those emails to their work accounts.

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