Colin Powell once had to correct Hillary Clinton after she credited his speech to the United Nations for helping convince her to vote to support the invasion of Iraq, the retired general told an associate in an email last year.
The problem, Powell pointed out in the March 8, 2015 email, which was released as part of a massive hack on Tuesday, was that the then-secretary of state gave his now-infamous UN speech in Feb. 5, 2003. Clinton cast her vote in support of invading Iraq months before, on Oct. 11, 2002.
“She once said she voted for the 2003 war because of my UN speech. I had to remind her that she voted for it three months before my speech. :),” Powell wrote to Marc Benioff, the billionaire founder of Salesforce, a cloud computing company.
Coalition forces, largely made up of U.S. troops, invaded Iraq a month after Powell’s speech. He has said he regretted giving the speech, which was based on faulty intelligence about Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Clinton has also expressed regret for her vote. As a presidential candidate, she has faced intense criticism for that vote.
The email was one of 30,000 published on the website DC Leaks. The hackers behind the site are believed to have ties to the Russian government.
Powell was discussing Clinton with Benioff because he was set to attend a board meeting for the company at Benioff’s home. The problem for the retired general was that Clinton would be showing up that same night to attend a Clinton Foundation fundraiser Benioff was hosting.
Powell wanted to avoid Clinton because of the scandal that was then erupting over her use of a private email account while secretary of state. “You have have noticed the ’emailgate’ flap we have been in this week,” Powell wrote. “I have a slight, but manageable, problem with some of her acolytes who have tried to link my private email use with her situation. I’ve shut that down.”
Powell then, out of nowhere, told Benioff about Clinton’s remarks regarding the UN speech.
It’s not clear from the email when Clinton is supposed to have cited Powell’s speech as the catalyst for her vote. It’s also not clear when Powell reminded her of her faulty timeline.