- The 76-year-old former secretary of state said he met Corina Cretu, a 45-year-old member of the European Parliament, 10 years ago
- He said they began emailing each other in 2005 and ‘the emails became of a very personal nature but did not result in an affair’
- Powell was forced to address his relationship with Cretu when notorious hacker ‘Guccifer’ posted some of their emails online
- In the emails, Cretu describes Powell as ‘the love of her life’ according to The Smoking Gun
- Powell has been married for 50 years to his wife, Alma, and Cretu was married last year
PUBLISHED: 14:16 EST, 1 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:31 EST, 1 August 2013
Colin Powell has admitted to exchanging ‘very personal’ emails with a Romanian diplomat but denies having an affair with the much younger woman after a hacker threatened to release their intimate messages.
The 76-year-old retired general told the Smoking Gun that he met Corina Cretu, 45, roughly 10 years ago when she was working as an assistant to the president of Romania. She is now a member of the European Parliament.
‘After I left the Department of State in January 2005 we stayed in touch via email,’ he told TSG. ‘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.’
Colin Powell (right) and Corina Cretu (left) are pictured at a conference in Washington in July 2011. She posted this photo to her blog
Colin Powell (center) and Corina Cretu (left) are pictured in 2002 outside the Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest awaiting the arrival of then-President George W. Bush. Cretu has posted this photo to her blog
In response to questions about multiple photos included in some of the emails, he said, ‘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 for 50 years to his wife, Alma, and Cretu was married last year.
He was forced to address his relationship with Cretu on Thursday after the notorious hacker ‘Guccifer’ posted a link to a Google document on Powell’s Facebook wall that contained some of the emails. The post was promptly removed from his wall.
In the emails, ‘Cretu calls [Powell] the love of her life and describes a relationship that spanned more than a decade,’ according to TSG. ‘The 2010-2011 e-mails would leave most readers with the clear impression that the forlorn Cretu is writing about the twilight of a romance.’
Powell spokeswoman Peggy Cifrino confirmed The Smoking Gun’s report.
‘Yes, the article accurately reflects the situation and that is General Powell’s statement,’ Cifrino said in an email to Politico.
Cretu has not responded to a request for comment from MailOnline.
Colin Powell and his wife Alma Powell deliver remarks following a meeting with business leaders and Obama administration officials on ways to improve education in July 2011
Months ago, Guccifer successfully accessed email accounts belonging to Powell and a number of other high-ranking officials, including former President George W. Bush and his family. The emails between Powell and Cretu were not released at the time.
Powell said he asked Cretu earlier this week – after the link to the emails was posted – to delete all the messages between them. That email was also accessed by the hacker and posted online.
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Powell explained to the Smoking Gun: ‘In light of what was happening it seems obvious to ask Ms. Cretu to delete emails.’
He 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.’
Cretu holds a press conference in 2009 on responding to violence against women in conflict. She is a member of the European Parliament
Cretu was elected to the European Parliament in 2007. She is the is vice-chair of Parliament’s ‘Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats,’ which traveled to Washington in July 2011 for a conference.
Cretu posted a blog about the conference and included a photo of herself and Colin Powell.
‘Commander of U.S. troops in the first Gulf War and Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, General Colin Powell is one of the most avid observers of global developments and also an old and good friend of Romania,’ she wrote, according to an English translation of her blog, which was written in Romanian. ‘I had, along with colleagues from Socialist MEP delegation, a very interesting discussion, focusing particularly on transatlantic cooperation in the current geopolitical framework.’
Cretu posted this photo to her blog with the caption ‘Congress, meeting Mr Chairman with Mrs. Clinton, 1998.’ Hillary Clinton is pictured far left and Cretu is second-from-left
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