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New York Times Sues DOD For Release Of SecDef’s Personal Email Account

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The New York Times is set to face off against the Department of Defense in court over the full release of emails from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s personal email account, in a scandal reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s email misadventures.

In December, Carter admitted he had used a personal email account for work-related purposes, which constitutes a violation of DOD rules. After that admission, the DOD released more than 1,300 pages of emails.

The problem is that those emails were heavily redacted, and The New York Times wants to know the content behind those redactions, Politico reports.

“The exemptions have very specific requirements, and I don’t think these exemptions meet those requirements,” David McCraw, the attorney for The New York Times, said, according to Politico. McCraw added that government officials shouldn’t expect to be able to get around FOIA requests by using personal email accounts.

Ironically, the redactions themselves were imperfect. The Daily Caller News Foundation reported in April that the Pentagon apparently forgot to redact at least one mention of Carter’s personal email address displayed on page 1,213 of the released email archive: ashcarter@msn.com.

Pentagon spokesman Gordon Trowbridge told Politico there was no classified material in Carter’s personal email account, unlike on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, for which she earned stern rebuke from FBI Director James Comey. But since Comey didn’t even recommend criminal charges for Clinton’s carelessness, it’s out of the question Carter will receive even close to the same flack.

In one email chain from Carter’s personal account, a non-profit VA group complained about the poor quality of care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In another chain, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who also serves as head of the female leadership organization Lean In, pressured Carter to look at promotion criteria to make sure that women aren’t being screened out at a disproportionate rate. Promotion boards, Sandberg argued, need to reflect diversity in the military.

The pretrial conference is scheduled for Tuesday in New York.

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