Clinton’s Technological Ignorance is a Problem

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According to a newly-released email from 2009, incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did “not know how to use a computer to do email” at the time. The email, which originated from State Department official Lewis Lukens, appeared to be in response to Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. Mills had earlier worried that Clinton’s inability to use anything other than her Blackberry might be a “problem.”

In the email, though, Lukens seems unconcerned. He wrote that it “would not take much training to get her up to speed.”

Of course, as The Hill points out, there’s no evidence that Clinton ever did figure out how to use her computer to “do email.” She has said that she never had a computer in her State Department office, apparently content to use her mobile devices as her sole method of electronic communication.

Now, the Clinton staff will probably use this story as a way of reinforcing their claim that the former secretary rarely used email at all. Or they will use it as a way of showing Clinton as being technologically incompetent, as though that’s an excuse for her wanton disregard for informational security. It’s a little like her “wipe the server” comment a few months ago, where no one could quite figure out whether or not she was joking. Increasingly, it looks like she really thought “with a cloth?” was a relevant answer.

While the FBI is in the middle of investigating Clinton to see if she intentionally mishandled classified information, most experts have weighed in to say that an indictment is exceedingly unlikely given the political circumstances. Even if it is revealed that she engaged in wrongdoing, there is some doubt as to whether the Obama administration would actually bring charges against her.

But as a purely political matter, there’s an argument to be made that Clinton’s ignorance is at least as dangerous as her arrogance. It’s 2016. The world has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. It’s no longer okay to accept “I don’t know nothin bout computers” from politicians who want to lead the country. Leading the country, by point of fact, means staying on top of the latest in technological advancements. Especially when so much of the world’s business is done through computers.

We don’t need a president from Silicon Valley by any means, but we need someone who can use a computer to “do email.” We need someone who understands that when you ask them if they wiped a server, “with a cloth?” is not an acceptable answer. We need someone just a little more with it.