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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 04, 2016

 
Republican email scandal? Say it ain't so

by digby

















I'll be interested to see how the Republicans spin this. If this whole thing was not a stupid irrelevant witch hunt, they would have to look into the matter as part of their "oversight" responsibilities:

State Department officials have determined that classified information was sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, NBC News has learned.

In an interview with NBC News, Powell challenged the conclusion, saying nothing that went to his personal account was secret. A Rice spokeswoman said the emails were about diplomatic communications.

In a letter to Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy dated Feb. 3, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick said that the State Department has determined that 12 emails examined from State's archives contained national security information now classified "Secret" or "Confidential." The letter was obtained by NBC News.

Two of the messages were sent to Powell's personal account, and 10 were sent to personal accounts of Rice's senior aides, the letter said.

None of the messages were marked classified when originally sent, and none were determined to include information from the intelligence community, Linick said in the document.

Powell told NBC News he strongly disputed that the information in the messages sent to him was classified, and characterized the contents as "fairly minor."

"I wish they would release them," Powell said, "so that a normal, air-breathing mammal would look at them and say, 'What's the issue?'"

Powell said he has read the two messages in question, having been made aware of the letter. The messages originated with ambassadors -- one in the Philippines, the other in Europe. He said they were first circulated on unclassified State Department systems, and sent to his personal account by his assistant.

"They were unclassified at the time, and they are, in my judgment, still unclassified," he said.

Huh. I'll bet Clinton would sign on to that as well.

Powell, who served as secretary from 2001 to 2005, said he used a personal email account because State's email system was slow and cumbersome. Powell is credited with modernizing State's computer infrastructure, which did not at the time allow each employee to have the internet at their desks.

"State's system at the time was inadequate," he said.

But, he added, "I did not use my email account for any classified matters because I had a classified computer on my desk."

So did Clinton, in case you were wondering. And she used it.

Rice, now a professor at Stanford University, was unavailable for comment, said her chief of staff, Georgia Godfrey.

"She did not use email as secretary nor use a personal email account," Godfey said via email. "My understanding is that the report is in reference to emails sent to her assistant reporting diplomatic conversations and they contained no intelligence information."

Linick's letter said his initial findings suggest there could be a lot more classified material in State's unclassified archives. He recommended that State take steps to find and remove it.

This is one of the stories that's been ignored in this whole mess. Powell destroyed all the emails from his personal email address on the assumption that all official business had been captured by the State Department. If these congress people who are now supposedly so concerned about security are to do proper oversight, they can have the State Department go through all of the Powell emails in their system and have them made public too. You know, for the sake of transparency.

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