Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Kennedy, US envoy to Japan, caught up in email controversy

Caroline Kennedy, the US ambassador to Japan and daughter of late president John F. Kennedy, was criticized for using private email for official business. The latest revelations about a high ranking diplomat were given greater resonance in the light of the scandal hanging over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. A report by the State Department inspector general into the management of the Tokyo embassy tagged Kennedy with a similar charge to the one dogging the White House candidate. The report said “senior embassy staff, including the ambassador, used personal email accounts to send and receive messages containing official business. “In addition, OIG identified instances where emails labeled ‘Sensitive but Unclassified’ were sent from, or received by, personal email accounts,” it said. State Department guidelines require staff to use official email accounts — judged more secure — to send government business, which then form part of the historical and legal record of their posts. Kennedy, a political appointee of President Barack Obama and not a career diplomat, will not face the same level of scrutiny as Hillary Clinton, but the breach is further embarrassment for the State Department. At a press briefing in Washington, department spokesman John Kirby defended the embassy and its illustrious ambassador. “It is not prohibited to use private email. It is discouraged, obviously,” he said.



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