Crime

Emails Show Colin Powell Told Clinton How To Avoid FOIA

| by Ray Brown
Former Secretary of State Colin PowellFormer Secretary of State Colin Powell

The Democratic party released emails between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former Secretary of State Colin Powell that referred to his advice to her about using private email to hide communications from the public.

"I had an ancient version of a PDA and used it," Powell wrote to Clinton in 2009, discussing his use of a personal digital assistant, according to Quartz. "If it is public that you have a Blackberry ... it may become an official record and subject to the law."

Powell went on to describe how he avoided creating records that would be part of public record, including communications with foreign leaders.

“I didn’t have a BlackBerry. What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient),” he said. “So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without going through the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels.”

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Powell also warned Clinton to “be very careful” about tip-toeing around Freedom of Information Act laws that allow the communications records of government officials to be available to the public.

"I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data," he said.

Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said the email from Powell helped make the case that Clinton did nothing wrong by creating a private server in her own home to handle State Department communications, including classified material.

“This email exchange shows that Secretary Powell advised Secretary Clinton with a detailed blueprint on how to skirt security rules and bypass requirements to preserve federal records, although Secretary Clinton has made clear that she did not rely on this advice,” Cummings said in a statement published on Medium. "This email exchange also illustrates the longstanding problem that no Secretary of State ever used an official unclassified email account until the current Secretary of State. The Republican obsession with Secretary Clinton has reached a fever pitch, and they have been using taxpayer resources to single her out in a desperate and abusive attempt to hurt her presidential campaign.”

Sources: Quartz, House Oversight Dems via Medium / Photo credit: DoD News/Flickr

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