We have no self-control: America's most powerful men explain why they're scared of email

Hillary Clinton email-gate gives Senators Luddite, Graham and McCain enough rope

Two of the most powerful men in the United States have revealed they don't use email - because they're scared of what they might say.

"I don't email. You can have every email I've ever sent. I've never sent one," Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC's Meet the Press yesterday. Graham's statement follows a similar admission by Senator John McCain late last week who confirmed he also doesn't email, telling MSNBC: "I'd rather use the phone, I'd rather use tweets."

Even more bizarre is the reason both Senators give for not using email: they lack the necessary self-control not to say something stupid.

Graham told a confused Bloomberg News: "I've tried not to have a system where I can just say the first dumb thing that comes to my mind. I've always been concerned. I can get texts, and I call you back, if I want."

McCain meanwhile said this: "I'm afraid that if I was emailing, given my solid, always calm temperament that I might email something that I might regret. You could send out an email that you would regret later on and would be maybe taken out of context."

People have been quick to point out that Graham sits on the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law that oversees the use of technology by the private sector. But just as damning is the fact that both senators were talking about their email practices because they were trying to make political hay out of the news that Hillary Clinton used a personal email server while serving as Secretary of State.

With both Senators apparently unable to control the instinct to type out the first thing that occurs to them, they are no doubt counting on Clinton to have a similar lack of self control so they can scupper her chances of becoming the Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential elections.

It may not have occurred to them that the very fact they are unable to introduce reason and critical reflection before responding is why they are unlikely to ever become president. Graham is currently "exploring" a presidential bid and McCain lost to Barack Obama back in 2008.

As two of Congress' most senior representatives, Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain sit on many of the most important committees overseeing the business of the United States government.

Which has left observers all the more confused and disturbed that they seem to be doing so without use of arguably the most pervasive and influential written communication application in the world.

"I don't email. I don't know what that makes me," Graham said. The answer is pretty simple: a Luddite.

But while the original Luddites took to smashing up the machinery of the 19th century, Graham and McCain are happy to do something much more dangerous: allow internet technologies to be abused by the government agencies they are supposed to be overseeing.

The solution to vast intrusions into privacy, in the senior lawmakers' eyes, is seemingly not to protect citizens from those carrying out surveillance but to simply opt out of using technology altogether.

And that is far more disturbing that the use of personal email by a former secretary of state. ®

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