Tags: Homeland Security | Judicial Watch | secretary | Jeh Johnson | private email

Judicial Watch: Docs Show Ex-DHS Sec Used Private Email

Judicial Watch: Docs Show Ex-DHS Sec Used Private Email

Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By    |   Monday, 13 February 2017 03:52 PM

Judicial Watch has obtained 216 pages of documents containing official emails of former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and three other DHS officials sent through private, unsecured, email accounts, the organization announced Monday.

The documents include sensitive emails talking about high-level meetings Johnson had planned with the Kuwaiti ambassador and officials from the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry, as well as a West African $4.5 million online consumer fraud scam.

Among the information revealed in the emails released was Johnson gave a "Progress Report" speech in which he cited the DHS's "strides in cybersecurity."

In addition, an unidentified individual spoofed Johnson's name and email account in a phishing scam, instructing recipients they could get money from "an abandoned fund worth $4.5 million in West Africa" if they would send back their personal details.

Judicial Watch received the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit it filed in May 2016. The other private email accounts were of Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Chief of Staff Christian Marrone, and General Counsel Stevan Bunnell.

Politico reported a federal judge last month ordered the DHS officials to preserve emails in their private accounts that might be responsive to the lawsuit, telling them to copy relevant messages to thumb drives.

The preservation order was sought by Judicial Watch, which said it was concerned the government might lose access to the records as officials appointed by former President Barack Obama left their jobs.

Judicial Watch had previously uncovered documents showing Johnson and other agency officials used government computers to access personal web-based email accounts despite a ban on doing so due to heightened security concerns. The documents also demonstrate DHS officials misled Rep. Scott Perry when he asked if personal accounts were being used for official government business.

"It is ironic and disconcerting that Secretary Johnson and his aides touted Homeland Security's great 'strides in cybersecurity' while using unsecured, private, web-based email accounts that the Department had officially prohibited," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. "The fact that the documents found in these email accounts were so heavily redacted and that Johnson's name and email account were spoofed in a phishing scam is indicative of just how lax communications security was inside Homeland Security during the Obama administration."

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Judicial Watch has obtained 216 pages of documents containing official emails of former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and three other DHS officials sent through private, unsecured, email accounts, the organization announced Monday.
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2017-52-13
Monday, 13 February 2017 03:52 PM
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