I Don’t Think Luddite Means What CNN Thinks It Means

CNN’s Security Clearance blog thinks it has exposed Janet Napolitano as a Luddite.

Napolitano said she does not use email “at all.”

“For a whole host of reasons. So, I don’t have any of my own accounts and that, you know, I’m very secure,” Napolitano noted at a Washington conference about cyber security.

“Some would call me a Luddite but you know. But that’s my own personal choice and I’m very unique in that regard I suspect,” Napolitano added.

Of course, she’s not unique at all and–given her fondness for highly sophisticated data mining–not a Luddite.

CNN might consider two things before they conclude Napolitano doesn’t have email because she eschews technology. First, the graphic above, which Bloomberg put together to show how unresponsive Obama’s Administration is to FOIA requests. Part of the reason why DHS claims so many FOIA exemptions is the sheer number of FOIAs they get. But there have been other examples to show that Napolitano’s agency doesn’t much like transparency.

And then consider why other people who don’t use–or claim not to use–email did so. People like Scooter Libby, whose office also happened to disappear a good number of emails responsive to a criminal investigation. The most logical explanation for someone–particularly someone who avoids transparency in general–to avoid email is because it is FOIAable, it serves as a record of discussions that might be embarrassing.

So my guess is that one of the main reasons why Napolitano doesn’t use email is to avoid getting into trouble with it.

After all, like Scooter Libby, she knows as well as anyone the kinds of things the government and others can find in someone’s email box.

5 replies
  1. chetnolian says:

    May I be very nerdy and point out Luddite doesn’t mean either of these. To be Luddite she’d have to stop the technology working, not just fail to use it. Luddites broke weaving machines because they were being put out of work by them.

  2. Peterr says:

    Unless her secretary and chief of staff are similarly working without using email — something I seriously doubt — then Napolitano’s decision not to use it strikes me as more a personal thing than an attempt to dodge FOIA.

    I know a number of folks who got into a job and felt overwhelmed at the sheer volume of emails, most of which were not terribly relevant or necessary. Being minions and not bosses, they couldn’t exactly announce “I’m not going to use email any more! The crap people are sending me is sucking up too much of my time!!!”

    But they sure wanted to.

  3. masaccio says:

    CNN could use a dictionary. They cold start by looking up “journalist, from which they could conclude that Dana Loesch doesn’t qualify.

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