Colin Powell’s hacked emails

Colin Powell’s recently hacked emails are published.

On September 13, 2016, hacked emails belonging to former Secretary of State Colin Powell appear on a website known as DCLeaks.com.  It is unclear who owns the DCLeaks website, which only appeared on the Internet a few months earlier. They are known for previously publishing hacked emails belonging to prominent Democrats and Republicans, including General Philip M. Breedlove, the former commander of NATO forces in Europe, and George Soros, a wealthy backer of liberal causes. It is also reported to have ties to Guccifer 2.0, who in turn has been accused of having links to the Russian government.

Colin Powell (Credit: Paul Morigi / Getty Images)

Colin Powell (Credit: Paul Morigi / Getty Images)

Powell’s aide Peggy Cifrino states, “We are confirming that General Powell has been hacked and that they are his emails. We have no further comment at this time.” The dates of Powell’s hacked emails range from June 24, 2014 to as recently as August 29, 2016.

Some of the emails are first reported by BuzzFeed and the Intercept, followed by many other prominent mainstream news sources.

The New York Times reports, “A hack of Mr. Powell’s email this week has ripped away the diplomatic jargon and political niceties to reveal his unvarnished disdain of Donald J. Trump as a ‘national disgrace,’ his personal peeves with Hillary Clinton and his lingering, but still very raw, anger with the Republican colleagues with whom he so often clashed a decade ago.” (New York Times, 09/14/16)

Colin Powell’s email account is hacked.

The personal email account of former Secretary of State Colin Powell is hacked on August 29, 2016 or shortly after this date. This is because when the hacking group DCLeaks publishes 30,000 of Powell’s emails from 2014 to 2016, the most recent email is from this date, indicating the hackers had access to his account at that time. (DCLeaks.com, 09/13/16)

Colin Powell warns the Clinton campaign to not compare his AOL account to the Clinton private server.

Just one month earlier, former Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested that Clinton had shot herself in the foot by not apologizing immediately and by dragging out her email controversy.

A sample of Colin Powell's leaked emails published by DCLinks.com. (Credit: public domain)

A sample of Colin Powell’s leaked emails published by DCLinks.com. (Credit: public domain)

The Intercept later highlights an email Powell writes on August 28, 2016 which states, “HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me to it.”

Powell says he tried to put an end to the matter by meeting with Cheryl Mills earlier that month. Instead, he writes, “I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s [sic] party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these ‘character’ minefields.”

The emails reveal Powell isn’t shy about sharing his frustrations over the Clinton campaign’s attempt to “blur the lines between Clinton’s private email server and Powell’s AOL account,” according to the Intercept. He suggests to dozens of reporters and producers who emailed him to read his book, “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership,” in which he devoted an entire chapter to his efforts to revamp the State Department’s IT system.”

Powell also argues, when he arrived at the State Department, the information technology system was extremely outdated.  The Intercept will conclude, “[U]nlike Clinton, Powell never set up a private server. Instead, he used his personal AOL [AmericaOnline] account, on a server maintained by AOL, and used a government computer for classified communications.” (The Intercept, 09/13/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.

A Clinton biographer misquotes Colin Powell, making it seem he gave Clinton advice at a party to use her own email account.

Joe Conason (Credit: Nations Institute)

Joe Conason (Credit: Nations Institute)

Journalist Joe Conason is writing a book about Bill Clinton’s post-presidential years. The New York Times calls Conason “a longtime defender of the Clintons.” While researching for his book, he contacts Powell spokesperson Margaret Cifrino about an alleged dinner party incident. Due to a leak by hackers in September 2016 of all of Powell’s emails from 2014 to late August 2016, the entire correspondence will be made public.

Conason initializes contact with an email to Cifrino on June 17, 2016: “My inquiry chiefly concerns a dinner party he [Powell] attended for then-Senator Clinton in January 2009, which was hosted by former Secretary Madeleine Albright and attended by several former secretaries of state.”

After some back and forth, Conason replies with his questions:

  1. Did [Powell] attend that dinner, along with former secretaries Kissinger, Christopher, Albright, and Rice?
  2. Does he recall Secretary Albright asking all of them to give Secretary-designate Clinton one piece of advice from their own time at the State Department?
  3. Did he advise Mrs. Clinton to use her own email account rather than a State Department account, as he did?”
Margaret Cifrino (Credit: public domain)

Margaret Cifrino (Credit: public domain)

Cifrino passes on Powell’s reply to Conason:

“Our records show that the dinner was in June, not January. He doesn’t recall Items 2 or 3. He also publicly and widely used his personal email account, but he also had a State Department computer on his desk for classified communications. He does recall sharing with Secretary Clinton his use of his email account and how useful it was and trans-formative for the Department. He knew nothing then or until recently about her private home servers and a personal domain, nor, therefore, could he have advised her on that or suggested it. By June her system may have already been set up.”

On August 18, 2016, the New York Times publishes an article mainly based on Conason’s depiction of the Albright party. Conason claims that Albright asked all of the former secretaries of state at the party to provide one piece of advice to Clinton, and “Powell suggested that she use her own email.” Conason will also include this claim in his book published not long after that.

Madeleine Allbright (Credit:

Madeleine Allbright (Credit:

However, in Powell’s response in the email exchange mentioned above, Powell clearly said he doesn’t recall Albright even asking that question, but did remember the email he exchanged with Clinton on January 23, 2009. Conason appears to be confusing the email with the dinner party. (New York Times, 08/18/16)

Then Conason writes an article for Newsweek on August 22, 2016 accusing Powell of giving “a very different answer” several months earlier. He quotes from the email exchange he had with Cifrino: “[Powell] does recall sharing with Secretary Clinton his use of his email account and how useful it was and trans-formative for the Department. He knew nothing then or until recently about her private home server and a personal domain, nor, therefore, could he have advised her on that or suggested it. By June I would assume her email system was already set up.”

Conason then comments in Newsweek: “So it is perplexing for him to say he doesn’t remember that dinner conversation at all now, since, according to his own assistant, he remembered at least some of what he said as recently as two months ago.”

Condileeza Rice and Colin Powell (Credit: public domain)

Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell (Credit: public domain)

Note Conason doesn’t quote Powell’s response to the question about the party, and instead gives Powell’s answer about the January 2009 email exchange with Clinton. (Newsweek, 08/16/16)

Additionally, the email leak will also include an exchange between Powell and Rice on August 28, 2016. Powell writes, “I was [with] Maddy [Madeline Albright] the other evening and she doesn’t remember an email conversation or even asking us a question recently.”

Rice writes back, ” Yes — I’m sure it never came up.”

Thus, not only does Conason misquote Powell, but the alleged Albright question at her party may never have happened at all.

Colin Powell expresses anger and frustration over being tied to Clinton’s email scandal.

Vernon Jordan (Credit: Akin Gump)

Vernon Jordan (Credit: Akin Gump)

Many of Powell’s emails indicate he’s angry about being tied to Clinton’s emails and his disdain is not just reserved for Trump. The Washington Post suggests, “Clinton’s decision to cite his use of private email as secretary of state to justify her private email server has clearly proven a sore spot — both in these emails and in previous Powell comments.”

On May 29, 2016, Powell writes to former top Bill Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan, “I have told Hilleary’s [sic] minions repeatedly that they are making a mistake trying to drag me in, yet they still try,”  “The media isn’t fooled and she is getting crucified. The differences are profound and they know it.” (Washington Post, 09/14/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.

Colin Powell writes, “I didn’t tell Hillary to have a private server at home.”

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Ken Duberstein (Credit: Washington Speakers)

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell writes an email to former Reagan White House chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein. “I didn’t tell Hillary [Clinton] to have a private server at home, connected to the Clinton Foundation, two contractors, took away 60,000 emails, had her own domain.”

On the same day, in a separate email to Condoleeza Rice, who succeeded him as secretary of state, Powell writes, “Been on the phone and email all afternoon. Hillary and Elijah Cummings have popped off.”

Also on this day, the State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a memo after reviewing the email practices of the past five secretaries of state. It was determined that 12 emails obtained by the inspector general contained classified national security information, two of which went to the personal email account of Powell and ten of which went to the personal email accounts of the immediate staff of Rice. The memo also states that the information was not marked as classified.

Elijah Cummings (Credit: public domain)

Elijah Cummings (Credit: public domain)

Representative Elijah Cummings (D) releases a statement in response to the OIG’s findings, and concludes, “Based on this new revelation, it is clear that the Republican investigations are nothing more than a transparent political attempt to use taxpayer funds to target the Democratic candidate for President.” (House Oversight Committee, 02/04/16)

Two days later, Rice writes back to Powell, “I don’t think Hillary’s — ‘everyone did it,’ is flying.” (Politico, 09/13/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.

Colin Powell thinks Benghazi was a “stupid witch hunt” and Condoleezza Rice agrees.

Condoleeza Rice (Credit: Fox News)

Condoleeza Rice (Credit: Fox News)

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell writes an email to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on this day about the Republican-led House Benghazi Committee investigation. “Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt. Basic fault falls on a courageous ambassador who thoughts [sic] Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place.” He is referring to former ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.

Powell also comments, “But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. [Patrick] Kennedy, Intel community, [State Department] and yes HRC,” referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Completely agree,” Rice responds. (Washington Post, 09/14/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.

Colin Powell doesn’t wish to get involved in Clinton’s email woes, despite her teams efforts to “drag him in.”

Lawrence Wilkerson (Credit: public domain)

Lawrence Wilkerson (Credit: public domain)

In another email, former Secretary of State Colin Powell complained to Lawrence Wilkerson, his former chief of staff.

Powell writes, “[Clinton] and her mishandling of this has really given her a major problem I do not wish to get involved in, despite the best efforts of her team to drag me in.”

A day later, on September 8, 2015, Clinton makes a formal apology  on ABC News for using a private server for all of her official business while she was secretary of state. (Politico, 09/14/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.

Colin Powell suggests everything Clinton touches “she kinda screws up with hubris.”

Jeffrey Leeds (Credit: Leeds Equity Partners)

Jeffrey Leeds (Credit: Leeds Equity Partners)

An email dated August 18, 2015, where Powell expresses to Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds that Clinton’s email problems show how capable she is of causing problems for herself, as well as for others and their email usage. “They are going to dick up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin’ record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine. … Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” (Washington Post, 09/14/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.