March 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's use of an alias email address while he was chief executive officer at Exxon Mobil Corp was "entirely proper," attorneys representing the company said in a letter to a New York court on Thursday.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is investigating whether Exxon misled shareholders and the public about climate change, wrote to a judge on Monday accusing Exxon of not previously disclosing the alias and Tillerson's communications through it.
His office was not immediately available for comment after business hours on Thursday.
Tillerson had used the alias email address while at the oil company to send and receive information related to climate change and other matters.
"It (alias email address) 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. The purpose was efficiency, not secrecy," attorneys at the law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP said. (bit.ly/2ntj6mk)
Had Tillerson set up the alias email address with the purpose of "secrecy." emails to the account would have avoided any reference to Tillerson as the intended recipient, the attorneys said.
"Obtaining publicity, not information, appears to have been the real goal of the New York Attorney General's March 13 letter," the attorneys said.
Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker