I’m a huge fan of Larry Seltzer and I follow his articles on eWeek.com religiously.

Seltzer recently wrote in response to a Washington Post story titled, ‘Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages‘ and he quoted the salient part: “No Facebook to communicate with supporters. No outside e-mail log-ins. No instant messaging. Hard adjustments for a staff that helped sweep Obama to power through, among other things, relentless online social networking.”

Cynics among us might be thankful that the previous occupants of the White House didn’t know how to use such social networking tools. But, when I read “Obama Team Finds Secure Networks Aren’t Fun” last week, I was outraged. Don’t step in that, Mr. President! It’s straight out of the south end of a northbound bull.

The White House Director of Communications simply needs to set up the crew performing social networking communications chores with two computers. One communicates internally, with other White House staff. The other machine goes out on the wilds of the Internet and deals with Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites.  Or perhaps the White House wants to step up to technology from this decade and use virtualization technology to accomplish the same goal.

I get cranky when Presidential staff, corporate execs and inexperienced journalists continue to fall for the pathetically lame excuse that the White House can’t deal with social media “for security reasons.” I expected that Larry would see through the nonsense immediately. This is not rocket science. It isn’t even as complicated as making a decent Margarita.

But then Seltzer goes on to justify the restrictions, many of which are completely bogus. Sure, some additional security is required in the White House. There are some strict rules to follow and classified material to protect, so they obviously need a high level of security. But that doesn’t in any way justify denying staff access to resources like social media sites.

Business and social progress doesn’t stop because some overly paranoid security guy says, “It isn’t safe.” Turning off anything that might result in risk — or that you don’t understand — is lazy and disingenuous. The mission, here, is for the security folks to help manage risk, not resist change at every turn.

Perhaps it’s time to put a new security professional in the White House. And, while you’re at it, ask the old one to bring me a Margarita.

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