Unknown hackers have compromised Powell’s Gmail account, and the whistleblower website DCLeaks posted a trove of his emails on Wednesday. Powell’s spokeswoman Peggy Cifrino confirmed that the emails were authentic.
The email to Jeffrey Leeds, Powell’s business associate and major Democratic donor, contained an admission that Israel had nuclear weapons – something the key US ally has carefully avoided confirming or denying for years, in a policy called“nuclear ambiguity.”
“Anyway, Iranians can’t use one if they finally make one,” Powell wrote to Leeds on March 3, 2015, regarding the ongoing talks about Tehran’s nuclear program. “The boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. As [Iranian President Mahmoudin Ahmedinejad said], ‘What would we do with one, polish it?’ I have spoken publicly about both [North Korea] and Iran. We’ll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?”
The letter came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had just visited Washington and given a fiery speech before Congress denouncing the proposed deal under which Iran would consent to invasive inspections in exchange for lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions. The deal was finalized in July 2015.
The State Department declined to answer RT’s Caleb Maupin when he asked for comment on Powell’s admission. Department spokesman John Kirby first refused to comment on the leaked emails, then declined to answer a follow-up on whether Israel should face the same treatment as Iran and North Korea – both of which have been sanctioned for alleged or actual violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.