You might think that, for a senator to sit on the Internet Policy Subcommittee, he would need some familiarity with the basic functions of the internet — but as we learned this weekend, you would be wrong. Speaking with Meet the Press on Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gleefully confessed that he has never sent an email, despite his prominent role in shaping our nation's web policy. The senator's inexperience came up during a discussion of Hillary Clinton's controversial decision to host her own private email rather than use her official State Department account. But Graham one-upped Clinton by swearing off the system entirely. "You can have every email I've ever sent. I've never sent one," he told NBC's Chuck Todd. "I don't email."
Graham isn't part of the executive branch, so his emails aren't discoverable through FOIA in the way that Clinton's would have been — but the exchange still reveals a profound disconnect in the way many US politicians approach technology. Faced with the possibility of Sony-style data breaches, many companies have considered moving away from email entirely, favoring less leak-prone messaging platforms or (as in Graham's case) in-person conversations. As a senator, Graham faces an even trickier question: how can he act as an authority on the value of the internet while avoiding one of its most popular applications?