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Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice got classified email on private accounts

By Shawn Price
Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice got classified email on private accounts
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell, shown here in the White House Rose Garden in 2004, are being questioned about their use of private email accounts during their time as secretary of state. File Photo by Greg Whitesell/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice received classified information through private email accounts, officials said.

The top diplomats during the George W. Bush administration were found by a State Department watchdog to have received sensitive national security information in their non-government email addresses.

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Hillary Clinton's campaign says the finding vindicates her as she continues to receive heavy criticism from Republicans for the same practice.

Ten messages sent to Rice's immediate staff and two sent to Powell have been identified by State Department investigators as classified, said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Oversight and Benghazi committees.

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Cummings said the emails are not marked classified but have since been determined to be, a situation identical to Clinton's claims.

Powell told Politico he was visited by the FBI last year to talk about his email usage when he was secretary from 2001 to 2005 but downplayed the content from two U.S. ambassadors.

"They're fairly innocuous and very benign and neither ambassador classified them at the time. They were merely information memos sent to state.gov," Powell said. "My executive assistants thought they should send them to me on my personal email. I found that personally acceptable."

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Powell, like Clinton, told NBC he wants the State Department to release the emails. "I wish they would release them, so that a normal, air-breathing mammal would look at them and say, 'What's the issue?'"

Rice has said she didn't use email while she was secretary of state, so the messages were allegedly sent to her closest aides. Georgia Godfrey, a Rice aide, said the messages were merely diplomatic exchanges.

More than 1,600 of Clinton's emails were not marked at the time they were sent, but have since been deemed classified, secret or top secret.

Conservative groups said Clinton's situation is different because she maintained a private email server in her home.

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