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Colin Powell email to Hillary Clinton in 2009 warned her not to be caught using personal Blackberry

'Be very careful.'


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Sep 7, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 1:56 am CDT

Colin Powell told Hillary Clinton in a 2009 email to “be very careful” if she used her personal Blackberry in her duties as Secretary of State. The email was released late Wednesday night by the House of Representatives Democrats.

Much of the 2016 presidential campaign has been focused on Clinton and how she sent and received classified emails when she was the secretary of state. Last week, the FBI released an interview with the Democratic presidential nominee in which she said she did not intentionally break the rules by using her private email while conducting State Department business.

In February, the State Department revealed that Powell received a dozen emails in his personal account that were later deemed classified or confidential while he was secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration. The FBI last week determined that Clinton asked Powell in 2009 about how he used a Blackberry when he was the head of the State Department and he told her to make sure she was not caught doing so.

But it’s a little more detailed than that. The House Democrats released that email correspondence between Clinton and Powell in which he said it was “nonsense” that his PDA sent out signals that could be hacked and to take caution with a personal Blackberry because if her use of it became public knowledge, “it may be become an official record and subject to the law.”

He also claimed he used an “ancient” personal palmtop computer while in office despite the State Department’s warnings against potential hackers.

Here was his response to her email asking for help.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) released the emails between Powell and Clinton and said in a statement, via the Daily Beast, “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.”

Powell said recently that he was being blamed by the Clinton campaign for its current email troubles.

“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” he told People magazine last month. “The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.”

But the release of this email showed that Clinton—who was found to be in violation of State Department rules by using a private email server—had actually asked for his advice only two days after she took the job. 

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*First Published: Sep 7, 2016, 10:32 pm CDT