Hillary Told FBI That Colin Powell Recommended She Use Personal Email

Chuck Ross | Reporter

Hillary Clinton told FBI investigators last month that Gen. Colin Powell, her predecessor as secretary of state, suggested that she use a personal email account for State Department business.

The New York Times also reported that Clinton asked Powell about his email practices in a 2009 email exchange.

A person with knowledge of the contents of notes taken during Clinton’s three-and-a-half interview with the FBI shared the information with The Times. The FBI gave those notes, which are known as 302s, to Congress earlier this week. They have not been made public, though Clinton’s campaign has expressed concern that they will be.

The Clinton/Powell email exchange is not among the documents that Clinton gave to the State Departmet in 2014. That despite Clinton’s claim that she gave the agency all of her work-related emails.

Clinton has not publicly named Powell as the person who recommended that she use a personal email account for State Department business. She has, however, pointed to his use of a personal email account in order to provide cover for her own email habits — habits which FBI director James Comey has called “extremely careless.”

Clinton did suggest late last month that someone did recommend to her that she use personal email even while in office.

“It was recommended that it would be convenient, and I thought it would be. It’s turned out to be anything but,” she said during a “60 Minutes” interview.

Powell was also interviewed by the FBI as part of its investigation into whether classified information was mishandled through Clinton’s private email setup.

The Times’ article has a separate confirmation of Clinton’s claims about her email discussion with Powell.

That confirmation comes from Joe Conason, a liberal reporter who has long defended Clinton. Conason is set to publish a pro-Clinton book next month.

According to The Times, which received an advance copy of the work:

Mr. Conason describes a conversation in the early months of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure at the State Department at a small dinner party hosted by Madeleine Albright, another former secretary of state, at her home in Washington. Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice also attended.

“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,” Mr. Conason writes. “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 computer.”

According to Consaon, Powell’s comments reinforced a decision Clinton had made months earlier to continue to use her personal email account.

Clinton went several steps beyond Powell’s suggestion, however. She hired Bryan Pagliano, a staffer on her presidential campaign, to set up and manage a private email server which she ran out of the basement of her New York residence.

State Department officials who handled cyber security and diplomatic security issues were not aware of Clinton’s use of the technologically-primitive setup for years into her tenure.

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