Dude, Really? Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Also Used A Private Email Account For Official Business

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 17, 2015 11:00 AM
Dude, Really? Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Also Used A Private Email Account For Official Business

So, after an entire summer about Hillary Clinton's private email use, which violated government policy, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter probably thought his little tryst with using a private email account for official business would just blow away, right? Uh, wrong. The New York Times picked it up, where they noted that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough found out about this system of communications at the Defense Department. The White House Counsel sent an inquiry, and then Mr. Carter said he knew he was wrong and stopped using his private email system for government business. As the Times reported, this made Carter another top Obama official with access to sensitive information who skirted department policy that is designed to ensure the safe transference of possibly highly classified information:

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter relied on a personal email account to conduct a portion of his government business during his first months at the Pentagon, according to White House and Defense Department officials and copies of Mr. Carter’s emails obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Carter continued the practice, which violated Defense Department rules, for at least two months after it was publicly revealed in March that Hillary Clinton had exclusively used a personal email account as secretary of state, the officials said.

It is not clear when Mr. Carter stopped using the account. But an administration official said that when the White House chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, learned about Mr. Carter’s email practices in May, Mr. McDonough directed the White House Counsel’s Office to contact the Defense Department to ask why Mr. Carter was relying on the personal account.

Mr. McDonough wanted to ensure that Mr. Carter was following all federal laws and regulations governing email use, the official said.

In a written statement on Wednesday, a spokesman for Mr. Carter said that the defense secretary had determined that he had been wrong to use the personal account.

“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,” said the spokesman, Peter Cook. “As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether.”

Carter was sworn in as our 25th Defense Secretary on February 17, 2015, and the story about Hillary’s private email use broke in March. What is going on here? We have a secretary of state, who conducted all of her official business on a private email account, and now the secretary of defense–who probably would have continued using it if the White House hadn’t gotten involved. Moreover, we also had a former ambassador to Kenya, who was fired for… also setting up a private email system.

We have DHS officials who can’t give us specific numbers on how many Syrians entered the country in a single year. We don’t even know how many people in the visa waiver program have overstayed their 90-day exemption in this country. Oh, and it also doesn’t help that Secretary of State John Kerry says we know who’s coming into the country… for the most part.

Again, there's a reason why private email accounts are not appropriate for government work, especially for top officials. Hillary Clinton’s private email system was riddled with classified information. It was vulnerable to hackers and other nations'  foreign intelligence services. Yet, we had a Secretary of Defense who continued to use a private email account for government business, even after the media is going nuts over Clinton’s email problems. In August, the former first lady turned her email server over to the Department of Justice, where they found nearly 1000 emails that were flagged for having sensitive material, two apparently containing "top secret" information, and at least one attempt to wipe the whole system clean.

So, to wrap it all up, government officials can’t give us figures about who is entering the country, and a few top dogs used unsecure communications devices. There is a reason why terrorism is becoming a top concern for the American public. We seem to have an administration that doesn’t seem focused abut keeping anything safe.