Senior staff at the U.S. Embassy to Japan, including Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, have used personal email accounts for official business, an internal watchdog said in a report Tuesday. Some emails contained sensitive information.
The State Department's Office of Inspector General said that it identified instances where emails labeled "sensitive but unclassified" were sent from or received by personal email accounts. Department policy is that employees generally should not use such accounts for official business, the watchdog's office said.
"Employees are also expected to use approved, secure methods to transmit sensitive but unclassified information when available and practical," says the report.
The finding comes in the midst of a department review of thousands of Hillary Rodham Clinton's emails that were sent and received from a private email account while she was secretary of state. Clinton also used her own email server.
The inspection of the embassy's operations was conducted between January and March. Kennedy, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, has served as ambassador in Tokyo since November 2013.
In May, Secretary of State John Kerry asked the department's inspector general to review several issues related to personal email use. These included possible new guidelines for retaining government information, better compliance with Freedom of Information Act and congressional requests, more transparency and updating the agency's technology. The review is ongoing.
Asked about the findings of Tuesday's report, a State Department official said that the embassy in Japan requires the use of official email accounts to conduct official business whenever possible, and indicated that Kennedy and other staff are acting on the inspector's recommendations.