The Nearly Unbelievable True Story Of Rex Tillerson’s Secret Identity

A long-buried alter ego has come back to haunt our new secretary of state

While he served as CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson didn’t say or write a whole lot about climate change. But his secret email alias, Wayne Tracker, sure did.

Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman revealed that Tillerson used an email address on the Exxon system under the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” to discuss important company matters including risk-management issues related to climate change.

In a letter to the state Supreme Court, the New York attorney general’s office claimed that ExxonMobil “has continuously delayed and obstructed the production of documents from its top executives.” Schneiderman’s office is conducting an investigation into fraud at the company, involving what Exxon knew about climate science and the risks of climate change, when it knew it, and how the company may have mislead the public and investors about the risks associated with its fossil fuel products.

In late 2015, Schneiderman issued a subpoena demanding all relevant documents, including Tillerson’s emails. The address was discovered by Schneiderman’s team while pouring through the more than 500,000 pages of documents that ExxonMobil did turn over. According to the attorney general’s letter, however, the company never told investigators that the Wayne Tracker account was Tillerson’s.

“Despite the company’s incidental production of approximately 60 documents bearing the ‘Wayne Tracker’ email address, neither Exxon nor its counsel have ever disclosed that this separate email account was a vehicle for Mr. Tillerson’s relevant communications at Exxon.”

So why the secrecy? “The logical explanation is that because of this campaign of climate denial, discussion of climate change was kept off to the side and intended to be somewhat hidden,” said May Boeve, executive director of, on CNN. The revelation of these emails make it more likely that Tillerson will now face deposition and be questioned under oath about misleading investors about the risks of climate change to Exxon’s business and will have to answer for the use of the secret alias.

Perhaps the more important question is, why Wayne Tracker? The equal parts goofy and macho moniker is a lightly veiled reference to his middle name (Wayne), and his well-known love of the Boy Scouts and outdoor skills. Predictably, plenty of fun is being had with the name. See, for instance, Stephen Colbert’s monologue as Wayne Tracker:

Or Slate’s Wayne Tracker Name Generator or “Wayne’s” upstart parody Twitter account, which totally acknowledges the realities of climate science.

Tillerson isn’t the first person in the Trump administration to find themselves in a bit of hot water over sketchy use of email. EPA administration Scott Pruitt told Congress during his confirmation hearing that he had never used private email while serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, but emails obtained by The Center for Media and Democracy later proved that he had.

And who could forget that Trump himself used to use an alias—John Barron, if you’re nasty—to talk to and handle tough questions from reporters about business deals (and to boast about his love life to gossip rags).


September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

It's fun to go to a party, talk to strangers, and try to guess where they're from just by their accents and use of language. It's called 'soda' on the East Coast and 'pop' in the Midwest, right? Well, it looks like a new study has been able to determine where a Humpback whale has been and who he's been hanging out with during his awesome travels just from his song.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less