Pentagon chief Carter used personal email account at times - NY Times

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WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter used a personal email account for some government business in his first months at the Pentagon, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing White House and Defense Department officials and copies of the emails.

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Carter, who took office in February, continued to use his own email account, contrary to Defense Department rules, for at least two months after it became public in March that Hillary Clinton had used only her personal email account while she was secretary of state, the Times quoted the officials as saying.

The email issue has dogged Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in the November 2016 election and prompted an FBI investigation.

The Times cited an Obama administration official as saying that when White House chief of staff Denis McDonough learned in May that Carter was using his own email account, he directed the White House Counsel's Office to ask the Pentagon why.

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Pentagon chief Carter used personal email account at times - NY Times
FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2015, file photo, U. S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses the U.S. troops at the Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey. A news report published Wednesday, Dec. 16, said Carter used a personal email account to do some of his government business during his first months at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/File)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, shakes hands with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani at the presidential palace in Irbil, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. Carter is visiting Barzani as well as U.S. troops to discuss the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Seivan M.Salim)
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JULY 21: U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter waves as he boards a C-17 military aircraft at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, en route to a Jordanian Air Base. Carter is meeting with Jordanian troops and coalition officials involved in the fight against the Islamic State. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster - Pool/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - JULY 22: U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter (2nd R) is greeted by Jordanian Armed Forces, Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, Special Advisor to his Majesty the King for Military Affairs and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (R) and members of the Jordanian Armed Forces as he arrives at the Jordan Armed Forces General Headquarters July 22, 2015 in Amman, Jordan. Carter is on a week long tour of the Middle East focused on reassuring allies about Iran and assessing progress in the coalition air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images)
Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, before the House Armed Services Committeehearing on the U.S. policy and strategy in the Middle East. The effort to train Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State militants has been slowed by a lack of recruits and the U.S. will not meet its goal to train 24,000 by this fall, Carter said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, left, welcomes her US counterpart Ash Carter, right, with military honors for a meeting in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, center, shakes hands with U.S. Ambassador to Germany John B. Emerson, left, after a wreath laying ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 22, 2015. Carter, who is attending his first NATO meeting as defense secretary this week, said that the U.S. and NATO need to have a "strong but balanced" approach to deter Russia's military actions but at the same time needing Moscow to fight terrorism and hammer out a nuclear agreement with Iran. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stands for a moment of silence after he laid a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 22, 2015. Carter, who is attending his first NATO meeting as defense secretary this week, said that the U.S. and NATO need to have a "strong but balanced" approach to deter Russia's military actions but at the same time needing Moscow to fight terrorism and hammer out a nuclear agreement with Iran. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter lays a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, June 22, 2015. Carter, who is attending his first NATO meeting as defense secretary this week, said that the U.S. and NATO need to have a "strong but balanced" approach to deter Russia's military actions but at the same time needing Moscow to fight terrorism and hammer out a nuclear agreement with Iran. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Defense Secretary Ash Carter waits to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. policy and strategy in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
ARLINGTON, VA - JUNE 11: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (2nd L) and Gen. Fan Changlong (L), Vice Chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission of People's Liberation Army, listen to the U.S. national anthem as they participate in an honor cordon June 11, 2015 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Carter held the honor cordon to welcome Vice Chairman Fan to visit the Pentagon. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 07: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks to the media during a briefing at the Pentagon May 7, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Secretary Carter talked about various issues including the situation in the Middle East and the Department of Defense budget request. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, VA - MARCH 11: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) and the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon hold a news conference at the Pentagon March 11, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. Carter and Fallon held a bi-lateral meeting to discuss many topics, including the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and their countries' continued work to help the Ukraine government forces improve their capabilities in intelligence, communications, logistics and first aid. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - FEBRUARY 23: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks to troops during a question-and-answer session at Camp Arifjan on February 23, 2015 in Kuwait. Carter will chair a meeting on Monday of senior U.S. military officers and diplomats on the fight against the Islamic State group. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with U.S. military personnel at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since his swearing-in this week. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, speaks with a soldier at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since his swearing-in this week. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with U.S. military personnel at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since his swearing-in this week. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with U.S. military personnel at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since his swearing-in this week. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, speaks with Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Gen. John Campbell, as they walk across the tarmac to board their plane to Kandahar, from the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since his swearing-in this week. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, speaks with Col. Viet Luong, after his arrival to Kandahar, Afghanistan, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since his swearing-in this week. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (C) is greeted with a military honor cordon as he arrives to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace on February 21, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since he was sworn in. He will also meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) sits down to a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) at the Presidential Palace on February 21, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since he was sworn in. He will also meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (2nd L) is greeted with a military honor cordon as he arrives to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace on February 21, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since he was sworn in. He will also meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) meets with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) at the Presidential Palace on February 21, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since he was sworn in. He will also meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (center left) is greeted with a military honor cordon as he arrives to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace on February 21, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since he was sworn in. He will also meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - FEBRUARY 21: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) sits down to a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) at the Presidential Palace on February 21, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Carter is making his first trip to visit troops and commanders in Afghanistan since he was sworn in. He will also meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images)
US Secretary of Defense Nominee Ash Carter (L) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) speaks before a meeting on Capitol Hill January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Secretary of Defense Nominee Ash Carter met to discuss Ash's nomination. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of Defense Nominee Ash Carter arrives for a meeting on Capitol Hill January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Secretary of Defense Nominee Ash Carter met to discuss Ash's nomination. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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A Carter spokesman said in a written statement on Wednesday that the Pentagon chief had decided he was wrong to use the personal account, the Times reported.

"After reviewing his email practices earlier this year, the secretary believes that his previous, occasional use of personal email for work-related business, even for routine administrative issues and backed up to his official account, was a mistake," the Times quoted spokesman Peter Cook as saying in the statement.

"As a result, he stopped such use of his personal email and further limited his use of email altogether," Cook said, adding Carter had used personal emails mainly to correspond with friends and family.

It was unclear how many emails Carter sent and received from his personal account, the Times said.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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