Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell and close aides to his successor, Condoleezza Rice, exchanged classified data through personal email accounts, Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed.

“On December 15, 2015, the Department advised OIG that 12 of the 19 documents contain national security information classified at the Secret or Confidential levels… Two of these documents were emails sent to Secretary Powell’s personal email account and the remaining were documents transmitted to personal email accounts of Secretary Rice’s immediate staff,” OIG said in a document.

Information exchange via non-governmental accounts is viewed as unsafe and is against the law.

The news come as presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has been mired in a scandal for using a private server and a personal email account for official purposes during her tenure as state secretary.

Earlier in the month, the State Department’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIAA) disclosures revealed that US State Secretary John Kerry had sent Clinton a “secret” email from his personal account.

Clinton won the first official nomination race in the Iowa Democratic caucuses by a razor-thin 0.2 percent margin on Tuesday.


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