Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderMichigan Republicans sue over US House district lines State courts become battlegrounds in redistricting fights New Hampshire Republicans advance map with substantially redrawn districts MORE used the birth name of basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as an alias for his official Justice Department email account, according to new documents revealed Thursday.
The Justice Department said in response to a Vice News request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that Holder used the name “Lew Alcindor” in email conversations with his staffers. His own name does not appear in the emails.
The disclosure raises new questions about Obama administration officials’ email practices, following controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE’s unconventional email setup.
Former Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon had claimed last year that the nation’s former top lawyer used three different aliases while in office, one of which was undisclosed but based on the name of an athlete. The other two, Fallon said, were “Henry Yearwood” — a combination of names of Holder’s family members — and “David Kendricks” — from two members of the musical legends the Temptations.
“As with many Cabinet officials, he does not use his given name in the handle of his email address,” Fallon said at the time, claiming that the precaution was for security and to safeguard Holder from unnecessary emails.
Unlike Clinton’s former arrangement, all of the email accounts were on the Justice Department’s @usdoj.gov domain.
A Justice Department spokesperson said in a statement that the current attorney general, Loretta Lynch, uses a government email account but also “does not use her given name in the handle of her email address.”
Fallon is now a spokesman with Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Over the past year, the Democratic presidential candidate has been haunted by her email setup, which critics worry posed a security risk and flouted transparency laws.
Holder and Clinton aren’t alone.
Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, exclusively used the alias “Richard Windsor” for her official emails. The behavior was condemned by Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Critics have worried that the use of aliases, while not against the law, could frustrate federal efforts at transparency and effective recordkeeping.
– Updated at 2:44 p.m.