Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed the years-long Republican outcry over the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya as “a stupid witch hunt” in leaked emails published by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.
“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 in a December 2015 email to former Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, according to BuzzFeed.
His email refers to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, one of four Americans killed in the 2012 raid.
This exchange was included among the emails obtained by DCLeaks.com, a website that U.S. security officials have suggested may be tied to Russian intelligence services. The same site has leaked private emails and documents connected to liberal billionaire George Soros’ philanthropy and volunteers for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Powell confirmed the authenticity of his emails to NBC.
Eight congressional committees have launched investigations into Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack, which occurred while she was secretary of state, and Republicans have frequently invoked the incident to criticize her record at the State Department.
In his email to Rice, Powell wrote that Ambassador Stevens and State Department officials shared responsibility for the attack on the compound.
“Blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. Pat Kennedy, Intel community, DS and yes HRC,” Powell wrote, according to BuzzFeed, referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton by her initials.
“Completely agree,” Rice replied, according to BuzzFeed, adding, “Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll have that glass of wine (or two).”