Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Benghazi probe was a "stupid witch hunt" and the majority of the blame should fall on U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 terrorist attack, according to newly leaked emails.
“Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt. Basic fault falls on a courageous ambassador who [thought] Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place,” Powell wrote in a December 2015 email to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reported BuzzFeed.
He added: “But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. Pat Kennedy, Intel community, [State Department] and yes HRC,” he said, using the acronym for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was Secretary of State when Islamic extremists attacked the U.S. embassy in Libya. That attack led to the death of 11 people, including four Americans and seven Libyans.
“Completely agree,” Rice responded. “Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll have that glass of wine (or two).”
Clinton faced a barrage of criticism for her handling of the Benghazi incident, mostly from Republicans who led an investigation that only recently concluded with no formal repercussions for the former Secretary of State.
Powell, who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush, has been thrown into the media spotlight after a hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 released several pieces of his private emails to various officials and friends.
In another email, Powell and former British foreign ambassador Jack Straw discussed the possible ramifications of the U.K's Chilcot Report, which sought a deep investigation into what led to the British government's decision to participate in the Iraq War, according to The Intercept.
Although the report deeply criticized British leaders -- especially former British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- for making severely bad decisions in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to The Washington Post, Powell brushed it off by saying it “didn’t amount to anything over here” in an email to Straw.
“[T]here is some stuff about some relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq trying to get a legal action against Tony on its feet [but] it’s hard to see how that could work,” Straw responded.
The two former government officials then reportedly changed the subject.