Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be the only Obama Cabinet member who opted for a private server and email address instead of a government account, The Wall Street Journal reports.
An aide for former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Journal that until getting a smartphone, Sebelius carried two devices, a government-issued BlackBerry and a personal cellphone. There is no indication that she ever used a personal email address for work-related matters, agency spokesman Kevin Griffis said.
Attorney General Eric Holder also had two devices, a White House official said. While personal email accounts were permitted to be added to government-issued BlackBerrys at the time, "the practice was discouraged."
Clinton has maintained that she used a personal email for the sake of convenience, so she didn’t have to carry two devices. According to the Journal, at the time, the State Department didn’t allow one device to carry two accounts.
Former Defense Secretaries Leon Panetta and Robert Gates opted out of using email altogether, according to a defense official, who characterized Panetta as "old school," while a former Gates’ aide told the Journal that his boss "worried about the security implications of using email for official business."
And former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano didn’t use email in her official capacity due to the concern that "written records can be used in hindsight for criticism," she said in 2013, according to the Journal.
"I also don’t like the process where people could send you an email and say, 'See, you were told,'" she said.
NBC Washington has reported
that the White House emailed former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at a private email address while he served in the Pentagon, though Hagel reportedly had two BlackBerrys, one of which accessed private emails and had "a limited number" of government emails.
In October 2013, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough sent a message to a group of Cabinet secretaries, using the official .gov addresses, and copied Hagel’s private address: firstname.lastname@example.org, according to NBC4.
A Pentagon spokesman said that on limited occasions an email may have been mistakenly sent to or from Hagel’s personal account.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter also has separate personal and governmental email accounts, according to NBC.
Time reports that Clinton
pitched some 30,000 emails from her private server even though she was aware that they had "become a subject of intense interest to congressional investigators."
She insists that she has complied with government regulations and says the emails she got rid of were "private" and "personal," though her staff has disclosed that no one read them before they were deleted.
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