Following an Associated Press report that Obama administration appointees have "secret government email accounts," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney argued Tuesday that the accounts aren't secret and, in fact, prior administrations have followed the practice of appointees having second government accounts.
"This is a practice consistent with prior administrations of both parties," Carney said.
"Having alternate email addresses for cabinet secretaries and other high-profile officials makes eminent sense," Carney said. "If they are inundated in one account with either public emails, or spam or the like, then they can continue to use their other account for normal work."
Carney said he created an alternate government email account after former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced Carney's email address at a press briefing so that the plethora of emails sent to his public account don't interfere with work notices - a sentiment government officials echoed in the AP report.
He also clarified that this practice is different than the one that the George W. Bush administration was criticized for. Bush officials created private, non-government email accounts where they conducted business over, thus avoiding the archiving that happens with government email accounts.
Carney added that the secondary government accounts that the AP reported on are subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and because they're not "secret."
"There's nothing secret," he said. "It's about having a public e-mail address, as well as a one for internal, you know, workings. But they're all available for when FOIA requests are made and congressional inquiries are conducted."
The AP has filed multiple FOIA requests with different government agencies and documented the difficulty in obtaining emails from these secondary accounts in its report.