Defense Sec. Ash Carter calls use of personal email on the job...

Defense Sec. Ash Carter calls use of personal email on the job a ‘mistake’

By Loree Lewis   
Published
Ash Carter (Photo: DOD / Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)

Carter's admission follows a report by the New York Times revealing the email practice late Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Defense Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged Thursday that he used a personal email address to conduct official business during his first months on the job.

Carter told CBS News during a trip through the Middle East, that the practice was “a mistake and it’s entirely my own.” He added that he “stopped” after realizing that the practice was against policy.

Carter’s admission follows a report by the New York Times revealing the email practice late Wednesday.

He is the second high level Obama administration official to be caught using a personal email address for official business. It was publicly revealed in March that Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and now 2016 Democratic front runner, used a private server while serving in the cabinet.

The Defense Department adopted a policy in 2012 that bars all employees from relying on personal email to conduct government business. Carter took office in February 2015.

According to the NY Times, the White House contacted the Defense Department to ask why Carter was using the address after becoming aware of it.

Carter’s spokesperson, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook, told the NY Times: “After reviewing his email practices earlier this year, the secretary believes that his previous, occasional use of personal email for work-related business, even for routine administrative issues and backed up to his official account, was a mistake. As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether.”

Carter’s emails obtained by the NY Times, through a Freedom of Information Act request, include 72 work-related emails he sent or received from his personal email account.

The NY Times reported that Carter emailed Eric Fanning, his chief of staff at the time, along with other senior aides on their government email addresses.

The correspondence included a “variety of work-related matters, including speeches, meetings and news media appearances,” the NY Times reported.

Cook said any email related to work received on his personal account was “copied or forwarded to his official account to be preserved as a federal record as appropriate.” This falls in accordance with federal law signed last year that bars federal officials from sending or receiving official email on their personal accounts, unless the correspondence is copied into their official accounts or forwarded to them within 20 days.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is launching a review of the email use.

“With all the public attention surrounding the improper use of personal email by other Administration officials, it is hard to believe that Secretary Carter would exercise the same error in judgment,” Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday in a statement. “The Senate Armed Services Committee has requested copies of the emails and will be conducting a review to ensure that sensitive information was not compromised.”

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