Pentagon chief used personal email account for nearly a year

by Robert Burns  |  published on March 27, 2016

Defense Secretary Ash Carter used his personal email account for government business for nearly a year, until December 2015, when news reports revealed the practice, according to hundreds of Carter emails released by the Defense Department.

The 1,336 pages of emails and attachments from Carter’s personal account were released late Friday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests by The Associated Press and other news organizations. None contained classified information, and most pertained to routine business such as scheduling and logistics.

The Pentagon has long banned the use of personal email for official business. Carter’s use of his personal email account, starting when he took office in February 2015, was especially remarkable given the burst of public criticism that followed disclosures in March that Hillary Clinton had used a private email account exclusively to conduct government business while she was secretary of state.

When the New York Times was first to report Carter’s use of a personal email account, on Dec. 17, Carter aides said his actions were a mistake and that he had quit the practice.

The emails released Friday show that while he used the personal account much less frequently starting in about September, he did not halt the practice entirely until December.

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