Omarosa apparently secretly recorded John Kelly inside the Situation Room. That doesn't appear to be illegal.

Omarosa on Meet the Press
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/ABC News via NBC News)

On Sunday, Omarosa Manigault Newman released via NBC News a recording she says secretly captured White House Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her, using thinly veiled threats, inside the Situation Room, one of the most secure rooms in the U.S. government. The recording itself is pretty anodyne, perhaps a little damning for Manigault Newman. But the fact that she recorded it on her cellphone in the Situation Room is alarming, if not, apparently, illegal, assuming she didn't have security clearance.

The White House isn't denying that Kelly took Manigault Newman to the Situation Room to fire her, rather than his office. "The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security — and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. And now Manigault Newman's "former White House colleagues are looking into legal options to stop her from releasing more tapes and to punish her for secretly recording her conversation" with Kelly, ABC News reports.

NBC's Chuck Todd asked Manigault Newman about the wisdom of secretly recording the White House chief of staff inside the Situation Room, and she cited self-defense. "They take me into the Situation Room, the doors are locked, they tell me I can't leave, and they start to threaten me," she said. "I protected myself because this is a White House where everybody lies. ... If I didn't have these recordings, no one in America would believe me."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.