Defense Secretary Carter used personal email in first months on the job

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Defense Secretary conducted some official business via personal email.

The US defense secretary, Ash Carter, reportedly used a personal email account for some government business in his first months at the Pentagon, contrary to defence department rules. The Times said the emails it received under the Freedom of Information Act were exchanges between Carter and Eric Fanning, who was his chief of staff at the time and is now the acting secretary of the army. The email issue has dogged Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in the November 2016 election and prompted an FBI investigation. And more often than not, they proclaim they will leave. “By 2016 I will have my 20 years in and can get out of here,” one military official said, referring to the amount of time a service member needs to collect retirement pay.

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. Clinton has said she sent and received roughly 30,000 work-related emails exclusively on her personal account over the four years she was secretary of state. Trump’s attack plans for ISIS—his call to ban Muslims from the United States, his suggestions that cutting off the flow of information through the Internet can protect the homeland—many said, are an affront to the values they vowed to die to defend. They also swear to “obey the orders of the President of the United States.” Some said repeatedly hearing Trump and the other GOP candidates spelling out a plan that is only a more brazen—and perhaps reckless—version of the current strategy was not reassuring. They noted that for all the talk of supporting the troops, Congress has yet to pass an updated Authorization of the Use of the Military Force, which would in effect mark a congressional buy-in to the war effort.

The emails show that Carter used an iPhone and iPad to send the messages and that Carter was emailing Fanning and other top aides on their government email addresses. But the officials said that Carter emailed with his closest aides about a variety of work-related matters, including speeches, meetings and media appearances. In 2012, the Defense Department adopted a policy that barred all employees regardless of rank or position” from relying on personal email to conduct government business. Last year, President Barack Obama signed a law directing federal officials not to send or receive emails on their personal accounts unless they were copied directly into their government accounts or forwarded to a government account within 20 days.

And the prospect of endless quasi-war thousands of miles away—even if it’s fought mostly by drones and elite special operations forces—is not tenable, they argue. An inspector general has said there was classified “Top Secret” information on Clinton’s private account – having classified government material outside a secure government account is illegal – and the FBI is investigating. “The controversy swirling around Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server should have acted as a wake-up call to Cabinet-level officials using similar commercial accounts to transmit electronic messages about government business,” said Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration. The words broadly echoed what flag officers have said in the past about the reality show star: “Personally, I hope no one will be called upon to serve under a President T… I can’t bring myself to type the words,” retired Rear Admiral John Hutson, who once served as the Navy’s top lawyer, told The Daily Beast in July. Regardless, such fervor about political matters is a jarring thing to hear at first from those in uniform; they serve in a part of government that urges service members to drop any sense of identity or partisan politics.

It is unusual to see someone in uniform even say whether they are Republican or Democrat, and if they do, often it is whispered like a secret; the final case of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” if you will. But in the course of the 2016 campaign it is clear that the nation’s political polarization has seeped into the military, particularly after Wednesday’s debate, which focused on national security.

Ted Cruz announced that he wanted a bombing campaign on places like Raqqa, Syria—ISIS’s capital—that was both indiscriminate—he used the term “carpet bombing”—and ultra-porecise. “You would carpet bomb where ISIS is, not a city, but the location of the troops. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson suggested that flattening ISIS-controlled cities would be “merciful,” even if it killed civilians as it would eliminate the threat.

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