Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told federal investigators that Colin Powell, a former secretary of State, advised her to use a personal email account, the New York Times reports.
The newspaper said the information, from a three-and-a-half-hour interview with Clinton in July, is included in notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave to Congress on Tuesday.
The NYT also cites a book by political journalist Joe Conason that says during a conversation at a dinner party hosted by another former secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in Washington in 2009, Powell advised Clinton to use her “own email” except for classified communications.
The newspaper says it received an advanced copy of the book, called Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton.
“Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason writes in the book, according to the NYT.
“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.”
“Saying that his use of personal email had been transformative for the department,” Mr. Powell “thus confirmed a decision she had made months earlier — to keep her personal account and use it for most messages,” the extract continued.
The NYT’s report could not be independently verified by USA TV NEWS and Clinton’s representatives could not immediately be reached. FBI Director James Comey recommended in July that that no criminal charges be brought against Clinton.
Powell’s office said in a statement carried by Reuters late Thursday that he could not remember the dinner conversation, but “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,” the statement said, adding that Powell used a secure department computer to manage classified information.
Powell has said he had to use his personal email because the State Department did not have a fully functioning email system when he joined in 2001.