White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held an impromptu meeting with his staff last week during which their phones were checked in an effort to stamp out leaks coming out of the administration.
Information about the meeting was then leaked.
Politico reported that Spicer called a meeting with his staffers after becoming aware that information had leaked from a previous planning meeting. People in the room, and one person briefed on the meeting, told the site that Spicer wanted to vent frustration about bad stories in the press.
Staffer were told to leave their phones on a table to be checked, and were warned that using encrypted and secretive messaging apps like Confide and Signal violates the Presidential Records Act. The report was even confirmed by Fox News.
The story comes following the tense few days between the administration and media organisations. On Friday (24 February), a number of media agencies including the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, Buzzfeed and the LA Times were barred from entering a press briefing usually attended by all White House press.
Reporters for Time and the Associated Press then boycotted the meeting out of solidarity.
President Donald Trump then took to the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday to rail against what he called the "fake news media", repeating his statement that fake news is "the enemy of the people".
Trump also accused news agencies of making up sources and said press should no longer use anonymous sources. "Let there be no more anonymous sources," he said, before adding: "We're going to do something about it."
At the same conference the day before, Trump's chief strategist and former executive chair of the right-wing Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, repeatedly called the media "the opposition party", saying that the "corporatist, globalist media is opposed to the nationalist agenda" of himself and Trump.