Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and 28 senior staff members have been using personal email from their work computers for over a year despite a rule against doing so, according to a Bloomberg report.
The DHS boss reportedly has been using "private Web-based email" under a waiver, though this practice is now being suspended. The report follows questions about Hillary Clinton using a private account -- and server -- during her time at the helm of the State Department.
At DHS, the department passed a rule in April of 2014 banning private email use on government machines or for government business. The rule was instated after a group of hackers breached data from the Office of Personnel Management. Many DHS officials, however, have apparently gotten waivers from the policy.
The DHS has acknowledged that the waivers pose a security threat. DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron has since told Bloomberg that “going forward … all access to personal webmail accounts has been suspended.”
At a Politico breakfast on Tuesday, Johnson acknowledged he used his personal Gmail account on a DHS desktop to access personal mail. When asked if he used that email to conduct official business, Johnson said he occasionally pushed messages received by his Gmail to his DHS account.
Johnson also said he was aware of security threats and admitted he should’ve stopped using his private account sooner.
Private email use has become a hot-button issue for government officials. In March, the New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton used a private account for her State Department work. She has since turned thousands of emails from that time period over to the State Department.