U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter used a personal email account for some government business in his first months at the Pentagon, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing White House and Defense Department officials and copies of the emails.
Carter, who took office in February, continued to use his own email account, contrary to Defense Department rules, for at least two months after it became public in March that Hillary Clinton had used only her personal email account while she was secretary of state, the Times quoted the officials as saying.
The email issue has dogged Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in the November 2016 election and prompted an FBI investigation.
The Times cited an Obama administration official as saying that when White House chief of staff Denis McDonough learned in May that Carter was using his own email account, he directed the White House Counsel’s Office to ask the Pentagon why.
A Carter spokesman said in a written statement on Wednesday that the Pentagon chief had decided he was wrong to use the personal account, the Times reported.
“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,” the Times quoted spokesman Peter Cook as saying in the statement.
“As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether,” Cook said, adding Carter had used personal emails mainly to correspond with friends and family.
It was unclear how many emails Carter sent and received from his personal account, the Times said.
(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Peter Cooney)