Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has denied allegations of an affair with a Romanian politician after a hacker published a series of communications taken from his email and Facebook accounts.
According to the Smoking Gun, Powell, 76, is the latest target of a hacker known as Guccifer, who is believed to be responsible for breaking into the personal accounts of Bush family members and associates. Media outlets have reported other victims include an aide to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a U.S. senator, a United Nations senior official and former FBI agents, as well as public figures such as journalist Carl Bernstein and “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell.
Guccifer hacked into Powell’s email account and posted a link on his Facebook wall to a series of emails and photos between the retired U.S. Army four-star general and Corina Cretu, a member of the European Parliament who is a former representative of the president of Romania.
In the emails -- spanning more than a decade -- Cretu, 46, refers to Powell as the love of her life. “I miss you, I hope to be at least a friend to you. I’ve loved you too, much, too, many years,” Cretu wrote, according to ABC News. “YOU were my greatest love of my life, butifond [sic] finally, a reaistc [sic] love.”
Cretu also sent Powell various photographs, including depictions of herself in bathing suits, as well as family and wedding pictures.
In response to accusations of an extramarital affair, Powell -- who has been married to his wife, Alma, for 50 years -- issued a statement to the Smoking Gun. “I have known Ms. Corina Cretu for approximately ten years,” Powell said. “We met 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 continued: “After I left the Department of State in January 2005, we stayed in touch via email. I frequently gave her advice on the prospects of finding a position with the UN or other international organizations. Over time, the emails became of a very personal nature, but did not result in an affair.” According to Powell: “Those types of emails ended a few years ago. There was no affair then, and there is not one now. Over the past eight years, I have seen Ms. Cretu once or twice when she came from Europe to attend group conferences in Washington. I have not seen her in several years, but we remain friends and are in touch."
Powell also told the Smoking Gun in a separate email that he had recently advised Cretu to delete all emails between the two. “In light of what was happening, it seems obvious to ask Ms. Cretu to delete emails,” he said.
As for the photos, Powell insists they are innocent in nature. “She sent photos on a regular basis,” he said. “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.”
According to Powell, “This was a friendship that electronically became very personal and then back to normal.”