Caroline Kennedy used private email for government business

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ambassador Kennedy used private email, watchdog says.

WASHINGTON — Caroline Kennedy used a personal e-mail account for official business as US ambassador to Japan, a State Department audit revealed Tuesday. The agency’s inspector general reviewed operations at the embassy between January and March — just as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server as secretary of state was coming to light — and raised questions about its own e-mail practices. Inspector General Steve Linick said his office “confirmed that senior embassy staff,” including Kennedy, “used personal e-mail accounts to send and receive messages containing official business.” Such conduct can lead to “data loss, hacking, phishing and spoofing of e-mail accounts, as well as inadequate protections for personally identifiable information,” according to the report. “It is not prohibited to use private e-mail. The State Department’s Office of Inspector General said Tuesday that it identified instances where emails labeled “sensitive but unclassified” were sent from or received by personal email accounts. It is discouraged, obviously,” he said. “We recognize there are circumstances where there may be no other choice.” President Obama’s nomination of Kennedy, the daughter of John F.

A report by the State Department inspector general into the management of the Tokyo embassy tagged Kennedy with a similar charge to the one dogging the White House candidate. Kennedy, to the prestigious post got a burst of global publicity in 2013 and a warm welcome in Japan — although the report highlights deficiencies in Kennedy’s management of a $94 million operation with 727 employees. The report also observed: “The ambassador does not have extensive experience leading and managing an institution the size of the US Mission to Japan,” and relies on top staffers with unclear roles.

State Department guidelines require staff to use official email accounts – judged more secure – to send government business, which then form part of the historical and legal record of their posts. Embassy Chief of Staff Debra DeShong Reed, a former longtime spokeswoman for Democratic lawmakers and for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 presidential campaign, came in for particular criticism. The FBI is reviewing the security of that server, with questions mounting over whether classified material was improperly shared or stored on the Clintons’ private account. She has since handed over around half of the mails from the server to the department so that they can judge whether they should be classified or made public. The IRS admitted Monday to a federal court there was a second personal email account — set up under the name “Toby Miles” — that Lois Lerner, the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal, used to conduct agency business.

As is typical of such inspector general reviews, the report was largely critical, although former senior US diplomats said it was by no means the harshest that they had seen and that many of the issues raised were familiar. These included possible new guidelines for retaining government information, better compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and congressional requests, more transparency, and updating the agency’s technology. Clinton has said the unusual arrangement broke no rules that were in force at the time, although the arrangement has caused long delays in providing federal records to lawmakers and the public to which they are entitled, critics say.

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