Tuesday, 28 March, 2017

Secretary of State Tillerson used e-mail alias as Exxon CEO

Enlarge  Secretary Tillerson meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir Enlarge Secretary Tillerson meets with Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir
Saul Franklin | 17 March, 2017, 01:38

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says that while U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the CEO of Exxon Mobile Corp., he used an email alias to discuss the risks climate change posed.

Exxon acknowledged that the address, Wayne.Tracker@exxonmobil.com, was used for "expedited" high-level talks between Tillerson and other executives at Exxon.

Exxon Mobil confirmed the secondary email account and stressed that it was not used exclusively for climate change matters, saying in a statement it was used for "a broad range of business-related topics". Monday of withholding documents from his office as it investigates whether the energy company misrepresented its understanding of climate change to investors and the public.

In addition to the email alias used by Tillerson, Schneiderman's office said that it has identified 34 other email accounts assigned to top executives, board members and their assistants that had not been disclosed by Exxon.

Aliases have been employed by top corporate executives for email accounts to throw off hackers, avoid people guessing their digital address or reduce unwanted messages. The filing comes in a protracted legal dispute in which Exxon seeks to derail probes by NY and MA into whether the company misled investors for years about the possible impact of climate change on its business.

Mr Tillerson resigned as chairman and chief executive of the company a year ago after his appointment as secretary of state in President Donald Trump's administration.

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In the Exxon case, Schneiderman requested all relevant documents, including Tillerson's Wayne Tracker emails, as he "determines which witnesses to seek testimony from as the investigation proceeds to its next logical phase", according to the filing.

"If they had nothing to hide", Jamie Henn, the communications director at climate change advocacy group 350.org, said, "than why the secret email account?"

For its part, Exxon Mobil said in its statement the company "has been responsive ... and has provided more than 2.5 million pages of documents".

Schneiderman's office said the discovery of Tillerson's second email address lends "additional urgency" to their demand that Exxon turn over documents related to climate change.

Use of the email alias was seized upon by environmentalists on Tuesday, who said it revealed a pattern of deception.

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