An internal watchdog report revealed that Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and senior staff members of the U.S. embassy in Japan used their personal email accounts for conducting official business.
According to Fox News, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report said that there were instances where emails titled “sensitive but unclassified” were exchanged using personal email accounts.
In a review conducted by OIG’s Office of Evaluations and Special Projects, it was found that senior staff at the embassy and the ambassador used private email accounts to conduct official business.
Ambassador and senior embassy members used personal email accounts for official business
“On the basis of these reports, OIG’s Office of Evaluations and Special Projects conducted a review and confirmed that senior embassy staff, including the Ambassador, used personal email accounts to send and receive messages containing official business. In addition, OIG identified instances where emails labeled Sensitive but Unclassified were sent from, or received by, personal email accounts,” the report said.
Also read: Obama Senior Officials Knew Hillary Clinton Was Using Private Email Address, New Documents Show
The new finding comes after thousands of emails of Hillary Rodham Clinton exchanged from her private email account, using her own email server, during her tenure as the secretary of state were scrutinized and reviewed. As the FBI continues to scrutinize the security of the server, questions are being raised as to whether classified information was shared or stored on Clinton’s private account.
The review of Kennedy and the embassy members’ use of private email accounts, which was conducted between January and March, did not reveal an information breach. While sensitive but unclassified information can be shared outside the government, discretion needs to be maintained by officials sharing the information.
Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, has been the U.S. ambassador to Japan since November 2013.
Risk of hacking and data loss
A risk of hacking and data loss has prompted the OIG to urge employees to not use private email accounts for official businesses.
“Employees are also expected to use approved, secure methods to transmit sensitive but unclassified information when available and practical,” the report says.
Also read: State Dep’t Says 15 New Emails Not Turned Over By Hillary Clinton, Contradicting Previous Claim
An official from the State Department, speaking on anonymity, said that the report highlighted Kennedy’s infrequent use of her personal email account for official business, something that was done by others at the mission, as reported by US News and World Report.
“This is allowed, so long as measures are taken to ensure that official records sent or received on personal email are preserved and other requirements are observed. The ambassador and embassy staff are implementing the OIG recommendations, including those regarding emails,” the official said.
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