Janet Napolitano doesn't use email... or Twitter, or text


U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies during a hearing before House Judiciary Committee July 19, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was focused on "Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security."


Alex Wong

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is bucking the technology trend and getting back to the basics - the telephone.

Napolitano told a group of surprised reporters Tuesday that she refuses to use mail because its "inefficient."

"I think email just sucks up time," Napolitano said at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

"I stopped using email when I was attorney general of Arizona. I was like, 'Why am I spending my time scrolling through this?'"

Instead, she does most of her work by phone and relies on staffers to feed her information.

"I haven’t found it to be a problem," said Napolitano. "When information gets to me or when I seek information and it gets to me, it’s not superfluous. It’s the stuff that, in this job, which has 100,000 different things that happen on any given day, it allows me to focus on where I need to focus."

Napolitano also spoke of the dangers of email's electronic record-keeping in the days of senate hearings and lawsuits.

"I also don't like the process where people could send you an email and then say: 'See, you were told, or you know this.' And then it comes back two years later to say: 'Hey you got this email among the thousands you got every day.'"

The secretary could probably sense how her comments went down among the smartphone-addicted reporter crowd.

"You’re all nodding and laughing, but you know I speak truth," she said.