Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he “has no recollection of the dinner conversation” recounted by Hillary Clinton to FBI agents, as documented by journalist Joe Conason in a forthcoming book.
Conason’s anecdote, reported Thursday night by The New York Times, recounts a small dinner party at Clinton’s Georgetown home toward the beginning of her time as secretary of state, with former secretaries Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, and Condoleezza Rice also in attendance. During that dinner, Conason reports, Albright asked the former secretaries to impart advice to Clinton.
“Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer,” Conason wrote in his book “Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton,” of which the Times said it acquired an advance copy. Powell, according to Conason’s account, told Clinton that “his use of personal email had been transformative for the department” and “thus confirmed a decision [Clinton] had made months earlier — to keep her personal account and use it for most messages.”
A spokeswoman for Powell’s office issued a statement after the Times’ story: “General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation. He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department.”
“At the time there was no equivalent system within the Department. He used a secure State computer on his desk to manage classified information,” the statement continued. “The General no longer has the email he sent to former Secretary Clinton. It may exist in State or FBI files.”