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Donald Trump says 'no computer is safe'

Donald Trump says 'no computer is safe'


"If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier."

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President-elect Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago Club
Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Donald Trump's presidential campaign was marked by verbal attacks on his opponents, with the candidate aiming public criticism at everyone from Ted Cruz to Hillary Clinton, from Megyn Kelly to Gold Star father Khizr Khan. But now he's got a new target for his complaints: the humble computer.

Speaking to reporters during his New Year's Eve party at the exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, Trump addressed the thorny problem of cybersecurity. "I'll tell you what: no computer is safe," he said. "I don't care what they say." It was better, Trump said, to do things "the old-fashioned way" if you wanted true security. "You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier," the president-elect advised.

Trump has attacked the computer twice in one week

His remarks were part of an ongoing salvo against the computer, a device that Trump said had complicated lives greatly. "The whole, you know, 'age of computer' has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on," he said to reporters last week. "We have speed and we have a lot of other things, but I'm not sure you have the kind of security you need."

Donald Trump might be a prolific tweeter, but he's seemingly much less comfortable around computers. The president-elect reportedly didn't even keep a laptop in his office during his election campaign, and was awkwardly pictured hovering a single finger over a keyboard during his Reddit AMA. His tech naivete has been exposed in speeches, statements, and debates too, with his proclamations that the US had to "do cyber" better, and calls for Bill Gates to "close up" the internet.

But Trump does have a point here. He's felt the effects of governmental hacks first-hand: emails stolen from the the Democratic National Convention's accounts became weapons that his campaign deployed successfully against Hillary Clinton. It does make sense to question computer security, particularly in an age where the FBI and the CIA both agree that state-sponsored Russian hackers actively involved themselves in US elections.

Not that Trump necessarily believes that. He questioned the accusation at his New Year's Eve party, using the occasion to proclaim that he "knew a lot about hacking," and saying that it was a "very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else." Trump — who praised Vladimir Putin over the weekend and previously suggested the DNC emails could have been obtained by "somebody lying on their bed who weighs 400 pounds" — said that he planned to meet with US intelligence officials next week. He also hinted that he knew "things that other people don't know," details of which he would release on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

The president-elect didn't explain why he was withholding this mysterious information for the moment, but given his stated distrust of computers, maybe he's just waiting for the courier to arrive with more details.