Colin Powell on Thursday denied having an extramarital affair with a Romanian diplomat after a hacker exposed personal emails between the two.
“When I was the secretary of State and she was an assistant to the president of Romania, we occasionally attended the same diplomatic and international meetings,” Powell said in a statement to The Smoking Gun.
“This was a friendship that electronically became very personal and then back to normal,” he continued. “Over time the emails became of a very personal nature, but did not result in an affair. Those type of emails ended a few years ago. There was no affair then and there is not one now.”
A hacker known as “Guccifer” broke into the former secretary of State’s personal email account and posted a link to some of the correspondence on Powell’s Facebook page.
The correspondence between Powell and Corina Cretu, a Romanian diplomat, “would leave most readers with the clear impression that the forlorn Cretu is writing about the twilight of a romance,” according to The Smoking Gun.
“Cretu calls him the love of her life and describes a relationship that spanned more than a decade,” The Smoking Gun said.
In one of the emails, Powell told Cretu that his account had been breached, “so best to delete all between us.”
“In light of what was happening it seems obvious to ask Ms. Cretu to delete emails," Powell said in the statement. “She sent photos on a regular basis. Lots of family photos with her nieces, who she adores, family reunions, formal business sessions, her wedding and some bathing suit photos … Never anything improper.”
Powell has been married to his wife Alma for 50 years. Cretu just recently got married. Powell said the two “remain friends and are in touch,” but have only seen each other “once or twice” over the past eight years at “group conferences” in Washington, D.C.
“I am pleased that she is having a successful career,” Powell said. “I am pleased that she is recently and happily married.”
Guccifer has become notorious for hacking into the personal email accounts of government officials and political figures. The hacker first brought to light former President George W. Bush’s fondness for painting in emails released earlier this year.