Hillary Clinton’s statements to the FBI have revealed the ironic truth that none other than former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell was the person who suggested that the Democratic nominee use a personal email account as our nation’s top diplomat. The New York Times explains:
Pressed by the F.B.I. about her email practices at the State Department, Hillary Clinton told investigators that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had advised her to use a personal email account. In a 2009 email exchange that also emerged during the F.B.I. questioning, Mrs. Clinton, who had already decided to use private email,asked Mr. Powell about his email practices when he was the nation’s top diplomat under George W. Bush, according to a person with direct knowledge of Mr. Powell’s appearance in the documents, who would not speak for attribution.
The “secret” testimony has been lawfully released by the person who gave it, and it reveals the sheer folly of the right-wing inquisition of Hillary Clinton’s email management. In fact, the Bush Administration so completely dropped the ball on installing modern, secure communications for our nation’s top officials that they could only offer a clunky $5000 PDA running on the mid-1990s platform Windows CE when Secretary Clinton took office in 2009.
Colin Powell retired as a four-star general in the United States Army, famously served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War before going on to serve as our nation’s top diplomat in the Bush administration’s first term, and we have known since last March that he used a private email server in that role because it “vastly improved communications” at the State Department’s offices located in DC’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Of course Powell was actually referring to AOL:
In a statement Friday morning, Powell’s office said: “General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation. He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department.
Now that it appears that Secretary Powell’s advice led eventually to a broken security process at the State Department. But like Hillary Clinton, he did so solely for the purpose of best serving the nation by allowing its top diplomat to function in a modern fashion while running global strategy on behalf of all Americans. For a man of Powell’s meritorious accomplishments to be forced to go outside of normal channels speaks to the heart of organizational failure under the Bush regime. It appears that the “scandal” surrounding Secretary Clinton’s emails is just another witch-hunt designed to smear one of our nation’s most dedicated public servants.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition