Report: Pence used his personal AOL email account for state business, fell victim to hackers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Vice President Mike Pence used a personal email account to conduct business during his time of Governor of Indiana, according to a report from our newsgathering partners at the Indianapolis Star.

The Star obtained copies of emails through a public records request. The emails show Pence communicating with top advisers “on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe,” according to the Star.

Indiana law does not prohibit Pence’s use of the email account, but the law is typically interpreted to mean that any business done on a private email must be retained for public record keeping.

IndyStar reports Pence’s account was also hacked last summer. A hacker sent a fake email to Pence’s contacts claiming he and his wife had been attacked on their way back from the Philippines, losing their money, credit cards and phones.

After the hack, Pence reportedly set up a new AOL account and apologized to his contacts.

Justin Cappos, a computer security professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, told the Star the hack seemed to be a broad attack and not directed at Pence’s account.

During the presidential campaign, Pence was critical of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“A large part of the criticism of (Hillary Clinton’s) personal server by the GOP — that it was unsafe or that it was to circumvent oversight — would be misplaced if Pence was using an AOL account,” Cappos told the Star. “The Secretary of State would be in possession of secrets that had more of a national impact, but at a lower level, a private email account has the same implications.”

Pence’s press secretary issued this statement:

“Similar to previous governors, during his time as Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence maintained a state email account and a personal email account. As then-Governor Pence concluded his time in office, he directed outside counsel to review all of his communications to ensure that state-related emails are being transferred and properly archived by the state, in accordance with the law, which outside counsel has done and is continuing to do. Government emails involving his state and personal accounts are being archived by the state and are being managed according to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.”

Pence said Friday afternoon that there is “no comparison whatsoever between Hillary Clinton’s practice, having a private server, mishandling classified information, destroying emails when they were requested by the Congress and by officials.

“We have fully complied by all of Indiana’s laws,” he continued. “We had outside counsel review all of my private email records to identify any emails that ever referenced or mentioned business, state business-related activities, and as Indiana law requires, we transferred all of those to the state of Indiana subject to the public access laws.”

Read the Star’s full report here.