When questioned by the FBI, Hillary Clinton reportedly said former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised her to use a personal email account. Even if this is true — Powell has denied at least one report — Clinton did not follow Powell’s advice, as he also reportedly told her not to use personal email for classified information.
On Thursday, The New York Times reported a story from journalist Joe Conason, whose upcoming book Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton includes an account of Powell advising Clinton to use a private email account. The exchange happened at a differ party hosted by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, which included Clinton, Powell, Henry Kissinger, and Condoleezza Rice.
“Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason wrote. “Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department server.”
Conason added that Powell called this “use of personal email … transformative for the department,” and therefore “confirmed a decision [Clinton] had made months earlier — to keep her personal account and use it for most messages.”
Did you catch it? Conason admitted that Powell included the caveat “except for classified communications,” but then he used sleight of hand to say Powell “confirmed a decision she had made months earlier.”
Powell’s office released a statement Friday saying the former secretary “has no recollection of the dinner conversation.” The statement did admit, however, that Powell “did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of a personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department.”
The statement emphasized, however, that “at the time, there was no equivalent system within the department.” Also, Powell “used a secure state computer on his desk to manage classified information.”
Clinton vs. Powell's use of email pic.twitter.com/KtRklq3KUm
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) August 19, 2016
As Townhall’s Guy Benson explained in February, there are two key distinctions: Powell did not set up a “recklessly unsecure private emails server” and conduct all official business on it, and Powell only received two emails which were retroactively classified (at the lowest level of classification!).
Clinton’s email was not through a company like AOL, but on her own private server, which was likely hacked by foreign powers like the Russians and the Chinese, according to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Even the Times admitted that “Powell did not have a server at his house or rely on outside contractors, as Mrs. Clinton did at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y.”
Hillary’s server also contained at least 1,600 classified emails, including some at the most sensitive level of intelligence, the beyond-top-secret SAP classification.
Indeed, the State Department has determined that as many as 29 emails had information too sensitive to release in any form, even with redactions. Clinton was even warned about the vulnerability of her private, home-brew server in 2011, when a State Department security expert discussed the threats of foreign hackers targeting high-ranking officials’ private emails.
As Hillary refused to listen to Colin Powell’s advice about classified information, she also tuned out the security expert.
There is simply no comparison between Powell’s limited use of his personal email account and Clinton’s gross misuse of a private home-brew server. Nevertheless, expect the “Ready for Hillary” team at the Clinton News Network to play on a loop — “The Republicans did it first!”