The Corner

Politics & Policy

What the Hell Was Ash Carter Thinking?

As far as Obama’s cabinet goes, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter seems a bit more competent than the rest of the team, but this judgment seems inexplicable:

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter relied on a personal email account to conduct a portion of his government business during his first months at the Pentagon, according to White House and Defense Department officials and copies of Mr. Carter’s emails obtained by The New York Times.

Carter continued the practice, which violated Defense Department rules, for at least two months after it was publicly revealed in March that Hillary Clinton had exclusively used a personal email account as secretary of state, the officials said.

It is not clear when Mr. Carter stopped using the account. But an administration official said that when the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, learned about Mr. Carter’s email practices in May, Mr. McDonough directed the White House Counsel’s Office to contact the Defense Department to ask why Mr. Carter was relying on the personal account.

Keeping an old private e-mail out of habit is one thing, but how do you keep using it as Hillary’s e-mail scandal is front-page news across the country?

Secondly, Carter was Deputy Secretary of Defense from October 2011 to December 2013… what e-mail was he using then?

Carter stopped using the personal e-mail for business in May, huh? I wonder if in May 2015, the Obama administration knew about any particular reason to be concerned about the security of the e-mails of its top officials, besides the scandal with Hillary… Oh.

U.S. officials suspect that hackers in China stole the personal records of as many as four million people in one of the most far-reaching breaches of government computers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing the breach, detected in April at the Office of Personnel Management. The agency essentially functions as the federal government’s human resources department, managing background checks, pension payments and job training across dozens of federal agencies.

Investigators suspect that hackers based in China are responsible for the attack, though the probe is continuing, according to people familiar with the matter. On Thursday, several U.S. officials described the breach as among the largest known thefts of government data in history.

Exit question: How long until Hillary Clinton and her defenders cite Carter as part of the “everybody does it” defense?

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