Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and uses her time at State Department to come across as a strong candidate to voters. To portray an image of a successful, prepared candidate who has experience when it comes to foreign policy. And who can handle complex national security issues. In contrast to her opponent, Donald Trump.
But her time spent as Secretary of State is also her Achilles’ heel. During her time in office she used a private server to store emails. The practice was the subject of an enquiry. The press has written about it and speculated about it. And she still gets questions about it, most recently on NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum.
The Clinton Emails and Colin Powell
The Clinton campaign had a lot of work to do on the issue of those emails. Mounting an effort to persuade that there was no sensitive information in those emails. Trying to put the story behind them. But the media still asked questions about the private server.
And it is still one of the things that the Democrat side regularly gets hit with by the Trump campaign. Trump supporters take to the internet and say that Clinton should suffer legal repercussions. Donald Trump himself has said that she shouldn’t be president for what she did.
So one of their better ideas was to say that what Clinton did was not unprecedented. That other people, while holding the office of Secretary of State, kept private correspondence. And that’s how the name of Colin Powell became part of the story. Colin Powell had been Secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration.
A top Democrat who is on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Cummings issued a statement on Feb. 4. In it he defended Clinton and said that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice also had personal email accounts while they were Secretary of State. And that on those email accounts they received “classified national security information”
Recently leaked emails that allegedly belong to Colin Powell show how he feels about having his name be part of the scandal. In an email to Lawrence Wilkerson he said that the Clinton campaign was mishandling the situation and that he did not want to be involved. He also complained that the Clinton camp was trying to drag him into it.
Colin Powell’s Emails
The emails that Cummings was referring to were not classified at the time that Colin Powell received them. After the Clinton controversy, State Department retroactively upgraded the classification during a review of emails by all former secretaries.
Powell wrote an email to Kenneth Duberstein complaining that State Department had mislabeled the emails. And had given them a higher classification than necessary.
On February 17, Patrick Kennedy at State Department forwarded Powell information about the position that the Department was taking. He sent him a transcript of what John Kirby, the spokesman for State Department had to say about the issue.
On February 5 Kirby had told reporters that it is not unusual to upgrade a document after a review of its classification. Basically, that it can happen after the fact. And even after people involved are no longer in office.
Colin Powell continued to be displeased that he was part of this. As electronic correspondence seems to suggest. But he thought that what the Clinton campaign was doing was not going to hold.
On May 25, Duberstein wrote to him to say that the campaign was using his name again. Drawing parallels and saying that Powell had used the same practices. Colin Powell replied by saying that the campaign is just digging a deep hole for themselves. And that the press isn’t buying their comparisons.
Image source: here.