I watched a bit of cable news over the weekend (and let me say up front that any cable news is more than I'd like to watch, but it's what was on), and scattered among the hurricane coverage on all three cable news channels I found a good deal of coverage of Barack Obama's commercial making hay that John McCain can't send an email. I find the commercial disingenuous (what President does send email, as opposed to having subordinates do it? Presidential email would be subpoenaed for an impeachment hearing by the angry right or by the angry left.) and a little stupid, given that it's fairly well known that because of injuries inflicted by the North Vietnamese McCain can't comb his hair, much less work a laptop.
So McCain can't send an email. He has people to do that for him. What surprised me was reading today about Robert Mueller, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He probably can't send an email for the same reason no President can.
The difference is, none of his subordinates can do it for him.
According to Gordon Crovitz at the Wall Street Journal:
Post-9/11 legal reforms now permit FBI agents to search Google and other commercial sites. Yet less than one-third of the FBI's national security branch agents and analysts have Internet access at their desks. A $500 million technology project to update the software to access the terrorist watch list of some one million names doesn't reliably track Arabic names when translated into English. It also doesn't allow basic search terms such as "and" and "or."
Leaving aside that the terrorist watch list database was designed by someone who'd never heard of Boolean logic, what do these analysts and agents do with their damned computers? Play minesweeper? And where in the name of J. Edgar is all of that tax money going, you know, for the great war on terror, when FBI agents can't google a suspect's name? Or they have to line up at the desk of Bob, who's attached to the Obscenity Prosecution Taskforce and Interstate Mopery Division, to look up the proper spelling of "aggravated" before pecking out a warrant on their IBM Selectric typewriters.
I hope they have enough white-out. I hope they have enough black ink ribbon. I hope their postage meter fees are paid up. I hope they brought their PENCILS!