(LibertySons.org) – House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY) sent a letter to Colleen Shogan, the head of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), on August 16 demanding unredacted copies of all electronic messages to or from then-Vice President Joe Biden or Hunter Biden and including three email aliases the senior Biden has reportedly used.
The request highlights a larger issue. Journalists previously accused several senior officials in then-President Barack Obama’s administration of using email aliases as far back as 2013. They noted some obvious problems with them doing so — hindering Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and oversight by Congressional committees being just two possibilities.
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On June 4, 2013, AP reporter Jack Gillum first broke a story on the fact that several senior officials in the Obama administration used work-related government email addresses other than those published and associated with their agencies. He had made FOIA requests to obtain those alias email addresses to test whether they remained subject to that act. He specifically mentioned Lisa Jackson, the former EPA administrator, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as two high-ranking officials using alternate emails.
The White House press secretary at that time, Jay Carney, confirmed the report during a press conference later that day but assured reporters that the alternate emails weren’t secret and only allowed officials to pursue their jobs without spam messages inundating them. Carney insisted that all email addresses remained subject to FOIA requests and Congressional oversight. The press secretary also told reporters previous administrations had used the practice for the same reason — job expediency.
At that time, Carney would neither confirm nor deny whether executive branch officials used alternate email addresses. Instead, Carney stated during the presser that government employees had received clear counseling indicating they must use government email accounts rather than private-based accounts for all work-related purposes so that all records would remain searchable for FOIA and oversight purposes.
A Listing of Obama Officials Who Used Email Aliases
Lisa Jackson: Jackson used the email alias “Richard Windsor.” While the EPA administrator primarily used the alias internally, she sometimes used it publicly without revealing her identity, leaving correspondents to believe they were actually trading messages with “Richard Windsor” of the EPA.
Kathleen Sebelius: Sebelius used “KGS2” as an alternate email identity. Gillum found she used a total of three government email addresses, but only the KGS2 address remained unpublished.
Eric Holder: Holder held office as Obama’s first Attorney General from 2009 until 2015. The Los Angeles Times reported that he maintained three government email aliases.
Loretta Lynch: Lynch served as Obama’s second and last Attorney General from 2015 until Obama left office in 2017. The American Center for Law and Justice submitted a FOIA request to obtain her email alias, “Elizabeth Carlisle,” in 2017. Elizabeth is Lynch’s middle name, but she didn’t return reporters’ calls asking about the name’s origin.
Hilary Clinton: Clinton served as Secretary of State under Obama from 2009 until 2013. She used two government email aliases, “hdr22” and “hrod17.” Additionally, she used a personal email server for much of her work-related email prior to 2013, resulting in a scandal regarding security and handling of government documents.
Barack Obama: Obama used at least one government email alias as president in communications with Clinton. Neither the White House nor the State Department revealed it, claiming “presidential communications privilege.”
Joe Biden: As mentioned above, Biden used three government email aliases. Comer tasked NARA with searching for documents that Biden wrote or received, including while he used the aliases “Robert Peters,” “Robin Ware,” and “JRB Ware.”
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