As a notorious hacker seeks to distribute “very personal” e-mails sent to Colin Powell by a female Romanian diplomat, the retired general is denying that he engaged in an extramarital affair with the woman while he served as Secretary of State, though he recently advised her to delete all their online exchanges, The Smoking Gun has learned.
In a statement addressing his relationship with Corina Cretu, a member of the European Parliament who previously held a series of senior posts in the Romanian government, Powell, 76, wrote that he has known Cretu for about 10 years, having first met her “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, who served in President George W. Bush’s cabinet for four years, said that he kept in touch with Cretu, 45, by e-mail after leaving the State Department in January 2005. “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,” Powell added.
Powell issued his statement (a copy of which can be found here) to TSG after a reporter sought to question him about the content of Cretu’s 2010 and 2011 correspondence, which was posted online this week. “This note responds to a series of posts placed by a ‘hacker,’” Powell wrote.
While TSG did not mention Cretu (seen above) by name or refer to a possible romance, Powell’s swift denial of an affair–especially one possibly conducted with an official of a foreign government while he served as America’s chief diplomat–was clearly prompted by the sensitive nature of the e-mails sent to his personal AOL account. And likely by a desire on Powell’s part to address any appearance of impropriety, especially in light of last year’s crash-and-burn by retired General David Petraeus.