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Defense Secretary Ash Carter used personal email for government business

Carter testifies before the Senate Armed Services committee on December 9.
Carter testifies before the Senate Armed Services committee on December 9.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter used his Gmail account for some government communications during his first months in office — a lapse in security that echoes Hillary Clinton's extensive use of private email during her tenure as secretary of state.

According to the New York Times, which first reported Carter's use of personal email and obtained 72 work-related emails the defense secretary sent from his iPhone and iPad, Carter emailed about "legislation, television appearances and how to pay for a hotel bill," among other topics.

This violates Defense Department rules, in place since 2012, about using personal email for government business.

Carter says he never emailed about classified information. And his spokesman told the Times that he copied or forwarded official government business to his federal email account, which he's required to do. Still, Carter told reporters Thursday he "should have known better" and "didn't do the right thing," according to the Washington Post.

Go deeper:

  • The Hillary Clinton email scandal, explained.
  • Carter had a low profile before running the Defense Department, as the Guardian wrote in a profile of him last year.

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