Former secretary of state Colin Powell referred to the investigation into an attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya as “a stupid witch hunt” in an email exchange with his successor, Condoleezza Rice. The exchange was uncovered, along with countless others, by hackers thought to be working with Russian intelligence.
“Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt. Basic fault falls on a courageous ambassador who thoughts Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place,” Powell wrote of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died in the incident.
“But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. Pat Kennedy, Intel community, DS and yes HRC,” Powell added, referring to Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state during the attack.
“Completely agree,” Rice replied. “Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll have that glass of wine (or two).”
Powell confirmed the authenticity of emails, telling NBC news that “the hackers have a lot more.” The website DCLeaks.com — which is thought to have ties to Russian intelligence services — obtained the retired four-star general’s emails.
The Russian government is also believed to be behind hacks into DNC and DCCC this summer. In July, Donald Trump praised the hackers: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said. The Republican presidential nominee later walked back his comments, claiming that they were meant to be interpreted as sarcasm.