Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an "alias email account" while CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.to discuss climate change issues, the NY attorney general's office alleged on Monday.
Tillerson used the pseudonym Wayne Tracker in email exchanges discussing climate change and its potential impacts on his company, the NY attorney general's office wrote in a letter to Judge Barry Ostrager Monday (March 13).
Wayne, it should be noted, is Tillerson's middle name.
Court-ordered documents from Exxon Mobil are proving that secret identities - or at least secret email identities - aren't only for comic book superheroes. On Monday, it said: "ExxonMobil believes the risk of climate change is clear and warrants action".
On Monday, a letter was submitted by the NY attorney general's office. The company said it has co-operated with the subpoena, and that the existence of the Wayne Tracker email account, and its connection to Tillerson, has been known to the attorney general for more than a year.
His office asked Judge Barry Ostrager to schedule a compliance conference at the "earliest possible date".
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Darren Woods, who succeeded Tillerson as Exxon's CEO in January, does not use an email alias, nor does any other Exxon employee, Jeffers said.
Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers claimed the "Wayne Tracker" address was used by Tillerson for convenience sake. The email address also did not appear on the company's list of preserved custodial sources or its privilege logs, according to the letter.
Eric Schenderman's office launched a probe into Exxon's business two years ago on allegations that the company had known about the effects of the fossil fuel industry on climate for decades, but had withheld this information from its shareholders and the public.
Oleske added that Exxon had promised to "move heaven and earth" in order to comply with the attorney general's subpoena, yet the corporation apparently failed to disclose that the "Wayne Tracker" email was used by Tillerson.
Exxon (XOM) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Online, it didn't take long for "Wayne Tracker" to be meme'd to life, with a parody Twitter account that points to ExxonKnew.org-a website alleging the Texas oil giant paid anti-climate change think tanks to misdirect public opinion on the threat of global warming so that it could persist with its business activities. Shortly afterwards, based on the same legal theory, the OAG launched its investigation into Exxon.