News & Politics

Colin Powell: Hillary's 'People Have Been Trying to Pin' the Email Scandal 'on Me'

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

In an interview with the New York Post on Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Hillary Clinton’s team of trying to blame him for the Democratic presidential nominee’s email scandal.

“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” Powell told the Post. Last week, 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. Powell has repeatedly said he has no recollection of the event, but he did email Clinton about his email practices as secretary of State. Hillary Clinton reportedly also pointed to Powell’s email practices when questioned by the FBI.

“The truth is she was using it (her personal email) for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did [during my term as secretary of state],” Powell told the Post. This should invalidate any attempt to pin Clinton’s use of a private, home-brew server on Powell and his advice.

When asked why Clinton’s team was attempting to blame him, Powell reportedly said, “Why do you think?” If Hillary can pin her email practices on Powell, not only do they seem less reprehensible, but she can say, “Look, the Republican did it first!”

But there are many key differences between Powell’s use of a private server (through the company AOL), and Clinton’s dangerous employment of a home-brew server operated out of her home in Chappaqua, N ew York. The Clintons employed outside contractors to set up the server, leaving it extremely vulnerable to hacking. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that due to this setup, foreign powers like the Russians and the Chinese likely hacked into Hillary’s emails.

Also, while Powell did receive two emails with classified information (retroactively classified at the lowest level of classification), Clinton’s server included at least 1,600 classified emails, 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.

The Post mentioned a few of these crucial distinctions. “Powell did not have a server at his house or use outside contractors, as Clinton did, the Times reported. Plus the rules governing electronic communication got more strict during Powell’s time in office and Clinton’s.”

The worst part of the Clinton team trying to blame Powell for the email scandal is the simple fact that Hillary did not even take the former secretary’s advice to heart. Powell insisted that she keep classified emails off of her private server, something Hillary very much did not do.

In his remarks to the Post, Powell seemed angered by the situation, but he told the paper, “It doesn’t bother me. It’s okay, I’m free.” Let’s hope so — only Clinton and her staff should be held accountable for her “extremely careless” actions.