Napolitano's lack of email use has left many inside the smartphone-obsessed Beltway wondering how she can survive without it.
“You’re all nodding and laughing, but you know I speak truth,” she said.
Unlike many on Capitol Hill and President Obama himself, who fought hard to keep his BlackBerry for limited access, Napolitano hasn’t used email since she moved from Arizona's attorney general office to the state’s governorship in 2003.
“I have a variety of ways [of getting information],” she said. “I’m constantly getting reports and emails throughout the day that come in through my headquarters staff that get to me.”
“I do a lot of my own work by phone. 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 said her email-less life also keeps her from being accused of seeing communications that may have come into her inbox.
“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,’” she explained.
“Among the thousands [of emails] you get everyday, I want to be a little more selective on how that goes. If people want to get me information, there are many ways to do so.”
After asking the room full of reporters whether they find email useful, Napolitano said she may use it somewhere down the line, but not quite yet.
“I may use it at some point, but right now I have no contemplation of doing so,” said Napolitano. “I don’t text and I don’t Twitter. There’re a lot of ways you can live life without email.”