The following was compiled from various published reports
Unknown hackers have compromised former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Gmail account, and the whistleblower website DCLeaks posted a trove of his emails on Wednesday that included emails from June 2014 to August 2016. Powell’s spokeswoman confirmed that the emails were authentic. Most of the emails were sent to Jeffrey Leeds, Powell’s business associate and a Democrat mega donor.
Powell said in a March 3, 2015 email that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons “all targeted on Tehran,” so Iran would not dare use a bomb even if it could make one
The email containing the admission that Israel had nuclear weapons – something Israel has carefully avoided confirming or denying for years, in a policy called “nuclear ambiguity.”
Powell wrote regarding the ongoing talks about Tehran’s nuclear program after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just visited Washington and given a fiery speech before Congress denouncing the proposed deal under which Iran would consent to invasive inspections in exchange for lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions. The deal was finalized in July 2015.
Quoting from the email:
“Anyway, Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one. The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. As [Iranian President Mahmoudin Ahmedinejad said], ‘What would we do with one, polish it?’ I have spoken publicly about both [North Korea] and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?”
The State Dept. refused to comment on Powell’s emails.
In one August 2014 email, Powell expressed anxiety over the US slipping into long-term military action against ISIS, writing:
“What worries me is the [president] slipping into a war the American people care nothing about and we don’t have a good enough understanding. He needs to have Kerry, Hagel, Dempsey, Susan and others shut up until he has decided on a policy. Their statements have been loose, undisciplined, hyperbolic and confused. For us to think we are at a high risk because a few of these clowns may get here is absurd. We spent $100m on 100 air missions blowing up maybe 100 trucks and tanks that were ours. ISIS is still there.”
In January of 2015, Powell wrote Leeds saying it was “nuts” to send American forces back to Iraq, and added that he was not convinced that leaving a residual force in Iraq would have prevented the rise of ISIS:
Quote — “So, the surge reduced violence, but we did not ‘win’. We gave the Iraqis a chance and they blew it. And day before yesterday Shia militia killed dozens of Sunnis. And ISIS occupies ⅓ of country. We are celebrating the ‘liberation’ of Kobane. Watch BBC and you’ll see that Kobane has been blown to crap. ISIS still control the surrounding territory and have gone on to attack Kirkuk. These are movements, not fixed enemies, and we’d be nuts to send in the American army again in strength. The Iraqis and the Afghans need to get their acts together. And I am not persuaded that leaving 10 or 20k in Iraq would have prevented this.”
In October 2014, Powell sent Leeds a link to a Fareed Zakaria column in the Washington Post. In the piece, Zakaria criticized the Obama administration’s plan to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, saying that the US should not escalate its presence in Syria because non-governmental and non-jihadi forces in the country were weak. Zakaria argued that the US should instead pursue a policy of containment.
“It is dead on,” wrote Powell. “Administration is just pumping out bullshit.”
In August of 2014, Obama national security advisor Susan Rice emailed Powell asking for advice on the administration’s ISIS policy. President Obama had authorized operations to protect Yazidis who fled into the Sinjar Mountains to escape from ISIS.
Powell wrote to Rice, “Your problem is how to get them off the mountain. You may slip into a bigger mission. (Think mini-Somalia.) On air strikes, the question is are we going after just the forces around the mountain or ISIS in general? How good will our targeting be without ground recon. We’ll pick off some vehicles and buildings, but I don’t know if that will be enough to change the balance, however impressive it looks on TV… ISIS is clever and there are lots of ways to disperse and hide. I can’t understand what the devil the Iraqi forces are doing or not doing. Getting a Prime Minister is important but won’t immediately have a political impact or motivate the Army.”
And a January 2016 email to Leeds showed Powell’s sense of resignation at the state of US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Quote — “We are fighting one kind of war. ISIS and the Taliban are fighting another. They plan to win, we are just trying to get to the next administration.”
In an exchange with his former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, in May of this year, Powell said he didn’t know what policies Clinton would put in place and expressed a lack of faith in Trump.
Quote: “Trump would reduce the requirements while funding stuff we don’t need. “God only knows what Hillary would really do. She is called hawkish, but she is smart enough to see what happened during the Obama and Bush years. Her hubby mostly stayed out except for some Balkans stuff, a screw-up in Somalia by nation-building and a two-day bombing in Iraq.”
In an April conversation with a former aide, Powell discussed how he briefed the president on nuclear plans and then expressed dismay at the idea of Trump in the White House.
Quote — “I think of my days as [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] and every few months I have to review out nuclear plans and keep the President up to date. The very thought of putting Donald (Trump) in this system is unbelievable.”
Other exchanges show Powell’s deep cynicism about the state of the Republican Party. Powell expressed his belief in a June 2016 email with Charles Powell — no relation — the former chief of staff to Tony Blair, that the Republican Party was beginning to crash and burn.
Quote – “We all need to start voting for America and not our parties. Trump is taking on water. He doesn’t have a GOP philosophy or even a Conservative philosophy. We need a revolution and it will begin with the GOP crashing and burning up its current form.”
Powell also wrote of his disapproval of some Bush administration decisions during his tenure. In an exchange with his executive assistant in June 2016 about torture, Powell calls it “a moral failing of America.”
In a January 2016 email with Georgetown professor and journalist John Walcott, Powell called Pentagon’s May 2003 decision to disband the Iraqi army “a strategic disaster,” and said he was caught off-guard by the decision.
Quote — “On about 23 May the order is issued. I read about it the newspaper the next morning. [The Joint Chiefs of Staff] were surprised, CIA surprised, Condi and President surprised. Centcom surprised. Jerry ended up having to hand out money to all these dismissed soldiers who went off pissed, trained and armed. Rummy in his memoir closed the story by saying: on reflection the NSC should have given it greater consideration.’ WE HAD. It may be that in those four days the decision was mentioned in passing at an NSC meeting, but there was never a study or analysis. A strategic disaster.”
Regarding Hillary, Colin Powell wrote — again to Jeff Leeds — “I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect. A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still (blanking) bimbos at home.”
In another email to Leeds on Aug. 18, 2015, Powell weighed in on his own use of private emails for State Department business:
“We have answered 3 IG questionaire [sic] and are clean. A newsie asked today to interview me on my use. Told them to read my book, Chapter on “Brainware.” They are going to d**k up the legitimate and necessary use of emails with friggin record rules. I saw email more like a telephone than a cable machine. As long as the stuff is unclassified. I had some secure State.gov machine. Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris. I told you about the gig I lost at a University because she so overcharged them they came under heat and couldn’t any fees for awhile. I should send her a bill. Trump conceivable take it to the convention. He appeals to the worst angels of the GOP nature and poor white folks. … FOX got the highest ratings ever after the debate so Ailes makes friends again with Trump and sends Megyn Kelly off to get over her period. Hey, nothing personal, just business.”
In a recent email dated Aug. 23, 2016, Powell called Clinton’s excuse for using an email server a “dumb” one:
Quote — “Dumb. She should have done a “Full Monty” at the beginning. She was using email when she took over. They put the personal system in the basement a few months later. The dinner was June 16th. She didn’t need any advice or ok from me; she was already doing it. I gave her written guidance on why and how I had been doing it. I warned her staff three ties over the past two years not to try to connect it to me. I am not sure HRC even knew or understood what was going on in the basement.”
In an Aug. 28 email this year, Powell described some encounters with Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff “burying the email flap”:
Quote “…Spent last week with Cheryl Mills and the HRC team burying the email flap. Madeleine [Albright] also says she doesn’t remember the dinner conversation or launching such a conversation. Sad thing it that HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it. I told her staff three times not to try that gambit. I had to throw a mini tantrum at a Hampton’s party to get their attention. She keeps tripping into these “character” minefields.”
In an Aug. 21 email bashing Donald Trump, Powell talked about his frustration with Clinton, as well.
Quote — “It could have been so easy for her just tell what she did, a “Full Monte.” Last night several folks came up to me to say “She threw you under the bus.” I replied ‘don’t be silly, she is under the bus.’ The FBI guys loved me and so did the IG types. But conversation turned to: “Clintons always trying to use you.” Most folks up here detest Trump and won’t vote for him, but dislike her intensely at the same time. Ah, well the country will decide. The NYT piece yesterday on emails was fine and balanced. I worked with the reporter. I found out from her about the book coming out. No alert from State or HRC team. Same with WP reporter. He gave me info that had been leaked to them. Trump just looks stupid trying to appeal to blacks and Latinos.”
The possibility of a Trump win came up in an email in June from Powell to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Quote — “If Donald were to somehow win, by the end of the first week in office he’d be saying “What the hell did I get myself into?”
In the same email, Powell called Trump a “national disgrace” and said that Democrats needn’t attack him, since he was already “destroying himself:”
Quote — “No need to debate it with you now, but Trump is a national disgrace and an international pariah. Even Gerson, Krauthammer and Will are beating on him. He is in the process of destroying himself, no need for Dems to attack him. Paul Ryan is calibrating his position again.”
In December, he wrote to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about the “latest outrage” from Trump and said it was “time to start ignoring him:
Quote — “No, I am being called by everyone re Trump. It is time to start ignoring him. You guys are playing his game, you are his oxygen. He outraged us again today with his comments on Paris no-go for police districts. I will watch and pick the timing, not respond to the latest outrage.”
I suspect there’ll be more emails to be revealed in the coming days. All of Washington is freaked out, panicked that their emails might see the light of day too.