Secretary of State John Kerry Occasionally Uses Private Email for Work

State Dept. admits Kerry occasionally uses his private email for work.

ByABC News
December 17, 2015, 5:40 PM
John Kerry types on a smartphone in Rome, March 27, 2014.
John Kerry types on a smartphone in Rome, March 27, 2014.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

— -- Secretary of State John Kerry occasionally uses his private email for work, but his actions are in accordance with the State Department's rules on email use, a spokesman said today.

Questions about the Kerry's use of email arose after was it reported that a fellow cabinet member, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, had used his private email for official business several months into his tenure, a violation of the Pentagon's rules. Today, Carter called his own actions a "mistake."

Asked whether Kerry also uses his private email for work, State Department spokesman John Kirby said it's a hard thing for the secretary to avoid.

"The short answer is, of course," Kirby said. "You know he can't prevent someone from emailing him if they have his private email account."

But the secretary is still operating within the rules of the State Department, Kirby said, noting that his private email is regularly checked by State Department staffers to make sure any official business is captured for the record. He added that Kerry, who emails regularly, makes a point of primarily using his official State Department account. Though he wouldn't describe it in detail, Kirby said both of those accounts have the appropriate levels of cyber-security.

The Obama administration signed a law last year that prohibits federal officials from using private accounts for government business unless those emails are forwarded to or copied into an official account within 20 days.

Earlier this year, revelations that Hillary Clinton exclusively used private email attached to a private server during her tenure at the State Department set off a firestorm in her campaign for president. Although those actions did not violate State Department rules governing the use of email at the time, the FBI is currently investigating how sensitive material was handled on her account.