Missouri governor criticized over use of disappearing messages

Missouri governor Eric Greitens
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is under fire for his use of Confide, a messaging app. Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Robin Hood Foundation

Missouri's governor, Eric Greitens, is facing growing controversy for using Confide, a messaging application that deletes messages after they are read, reports Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica.

  • Two activists are heading to court this week, per the report, to ask for a temporary restraining order to stop the politician and his employees from using the app. They contend that its against state records law for Greitens and his staffers to use ephemeral messaging. Greitens is fighting that argument.

The bigger picture: The rise of encrypted and disappearing message apps has raised concerns about how easy it's become for public officials to communicate outside the view of the public. Last year, Axios was the first to report the increasing use of Confide by Republicans in Washington, including administration officials.

White House leak crackdown leaks to media

Alex Brandon / AP

Sean Spicer did a phone check on White House communications staffers last week after several leaks about the administration painted a poor picture of the Trump team in the media. That crackdown on leaks was then leaked to Politico.

Spicer warned that using encrypted texting apps that delete messages — such as Confide, the use of which by DC Republicans was first covered by Axios — violates the Federal Records Act. He consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before the meeting and White House lawyers were present during the meeting. The Federal Records Act pertains to federal agencies, while the Presidential Records Act covers the president and his or her staff.

Per Politico's Annie Karni: "Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media."