WASHINGTON (UPI) — Defense Secretary Ashton Carter continued using a private email server for months after a scandal involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email use became public.
Some 1,300 emails released by the Pentagon on Friday show Carter using a personal cellphone and tablet to send emails related to official Pentagon business, including communications with Defense Department staff on press requests and other matters. The emails also include personal correspondence with friends.
Carter has said he never used a personal email account to transmit classified information.
The revelation comes after a firestorm surrounding Clinton for her use of a personal email server housed at her home in New York, rather than an official government email provided by the State Department. The Justice Department is investigating whether Clinton violated any federal laws regarding the handling of classified information via her private email server.
One of Carter’s emails released by the Defense Department on Friday was labeled “for official use only” which implies the information is sensitive, but has not been classified secret or top secret. Many of the Carter emails released Friday were redacted. Others dealt with personnel decisions in the department and news reports.
The Clinton scandal erupted in June. In December, The New York Times reported Carter had also been using a personal email for government business on some occasions, though he has said he primarily used his official Pentagon email for most correspondence.
The batch of emails released Friday date to September, four months after the scandal erupted surrounding Clinton’s email use.
A Pentagon spokesman acknowledged the emails show Carter’s continued use of a personal device for public business, but noted it also shows he did not improperly handle classified government information.
“In December, when this issue first came up, the secretary took responsibility for his actions and publicly acknowledged that his previous use of personal email for work-related business was a mistake. As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. “While still acknowledging the mistake, the emails released today again show that he did not email anything classified and all of his work-related emails are preserved within the federal records system.”
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