Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he sent Hillary Clinton a memo touting his use of a personal email account after she took over as the nation's top diplomat in 2009. In a statement provided Friday to the AP, Powell said he emailed Clinton describing his use of a personal AOL account for unclassified messages while leading the State Department under President George W. Bush. Powell says he told Clinton his use of personal email "vastly improved" communications within the department, which at the time he says did not have an equivalent internal system. The statement comes in the wake of a New York Times report that says Powell encouraged Clinton to use a private server for non-classified emails.
The Times account is based on a forthcoming book by Joe Conason, who describes a dinner with Clinton, Powell, and other former secretary of states early in her term. At the dinner, "Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done," writes Conason in Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton. The statement from Powell's office says he has no recollection of saying that, only of writing the email, per Politico. Powell said the FBI may have obtained a copy of his memo to Clinton during its year-long investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server to handle sensitive information during her time as secretary. The FBI closed its investigation last month without finding evidence to support criminal charges against the Democratic nominee.