Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an alias email account during his tenure as CEO of ExxonMobil to increase efficiency, attorneys for the company argued Thursday, saying there was nothing improper about the move.
“Mr. Tillerson’s use of the Wayne Tracker account was entirely proper,” attorneys at the New York-based law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP wrote in a letter to a state supreme court justice. “Wayne Tracker” refers to the name used by Tillerson on the email account.
“It allowed a limited group of senior executives to send time-sensitive messages to Mr. Tillerson that received priority over the normal daily traffic that crossed the desk of a busy CEO,” they added. “The purpose was efficiency, not secrecy.”
The letter was reported by Reuters.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office on Monday alleged that Tillerson had used the account between 2008 and 2015 to discuss climate change. Schneiderman’s office is investigating ExxonMobil’s knowledge of climate change and whether the company misled the public about its findings.
Officials subpoenaed ExxonMobil for internal documents – including Tillerson’s emails – regarding the investigation, but argued that the Wayne Tracker emails were not turned over.
ExxonMobil has already provided 2.5 million pages of documents related to the investigation. But the state attorney general’s letter requested that the judge order the company to say whether the Wayne Tracker emails were withheld.