Pentagon Secretary Ash Carter acknowledged erring when he used a personal email account for official business, but he did not violate a governmentwide ban on sending work messages through personal accounts.
That is because there is no governmentwide prohibition against using personal email to conduct official business. And the only limitation when talking shop in personal email has nothing to do with security but with preserving potential records.
Using personal email while carrying out government business is an issue that’s come up repeatedly in recent months.
In March, it was revealed that a homemade personal account transmitted and stored the communications of presidential contender Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.
In July, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted checking his personal Gmail account through his work computer. According to security consultants, that could have introduced vulnerabilities into the DHS network.
In October, hackers reportedly broke into CIA Director John Brennan’s AOL account and leaked government-related unclassified documents — although these dated from 2007 and 2008 when he served as a campaign adviser and transition team member for future President Barack Obama.
The restriction on using personal email relates to personal accountability, not information integrity
“There is no ban on using non-official accounts provided copies of all email records are captured in agency recordkeeping systems within 20 days,” National Archives and Records Administration spokeswoman Laura Diachenko told Nextgov on Oct. 22.
Nextgov had reached out to the National Archives when the details about the the Brennan hack were still murky.…