Mexican officials nabs BlackBerries

If you were the lead press person for a Mexican Delegation visit with President Bush, what would you do when you noticed that all of the White House staff in the meeting had deposited their BlackBerries on a table outside the hotel meeting room? Grab those suckers, of course!

If you were the lead press person for a Mexican Delegation visit with President Bush, what would you do when you noticed that all of the White House staff in the meeting had deposited their BlackBerries on a table outside the hotel meeting room? Grab those suckers, of course! That's what Rafael Quintero Curiel, who was responsible for logistics and press handling, at a New Orleans conference did, FoxNews reports. He was fired when he got back to Mexico City.

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Everyone entering the room was required to leave his or her cell phone, BlackBerry and other such devices on the table, a common practice when high-level meetings are held. American officials discovered their missing belongings when they were leaving the session.

It didn't take long before Secret Service officials reviewed videotape taken by a surveillance camera and found footage showing Quintero Curiel absconding with the BlackBerries.

He made it to the airport before Secret Service agents caught up with him. At first he denied taking them, but when agents showed him the DVD, he said it was just a big mistake and gave them back. He claimed diplomatic immunity. His story:
In a letter sent to Mexican newspapers and broadcasters, Quintero Curiel said he had picked up the phones because he thought they had been left behind. He said that as he rushed to the airport, he had given them to a driver to take back to the hotel to hand them over to management.
In a press release, David Gerwitz, author of "Where Have All the Emails Gone?" – a book about the very suspicious deletion of reams of White House emails – said in a press release that Curiel had plenty of time to copy the entire contents of the BlackBerries on the 20-minute trip to the airport.
"Face it. Whatever White House secrets -- and that could include anything from home addresses and phone numbers of top-level officials to strategic war plans or our economic negotiating strategies -- whatever strategic U.S. information was on those BlackBerry devices is now probably in Mexican hands." What if those BlackBerry handhelds were stolen by Iran, North Korea, or Al-Qaeda instead? This is a systemic problem that needs fixing."
What's unknown is if the devices were remotely wiped at some point before the Secret Service apprehended the official -- or not.