The email account of former US secretary of state Colin Powell has been hacked, revealing his critical views of the two US presidential candidates.
Powell, who served as the top US diplomat from 2001-05, had negative things to say about Hillary Clinton but he was even harsher in his assessment of fellow Republican Donald Trump.
Powell, a retired four-star general and respected elder statesman, called the billionaire real estate mogul "a national disgrace and an international pariah." He said the "birther" movement Trump led questioning whether President Barack Obama's was born in the United States was "racist."
But he also sharply criticized Clinton for the way she has handled her email, saying "everything [she] touches she kind of screws up with hubris."
Clinton made the scandal over her private email server worse by not apologizing immediately, said Powell. She "could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done," he wrote.
He also said he had repeatedly told Clinton's aides that they were making a mistake trying to drag him in. Clinton's campaign had implicated Powell by saying he had a similar set up.
But Powell never set up a private server. He kept his personal account separate on a server maintained by an internet service provider and used a government computer for classified communications.
A spokesman for Powell confirmed to the Washington Post and other media outlets that the emails were authentic. The leaked emails were Powell's correspondences with reporters and friends. They were published at the website DCLeaks.com and first reported by the website Buzzfeed.
In an email dated July 26, 2014, Powell revealed his thoughts about Clinton's candidacy: "I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect."
He then describes her as a "person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still dicking bimbos at home (according to the New York Post)."
Former president Bill Clinton survived an impeachment in 1999 over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He has been dogged by allegations of adultery for years.
Several US media outlets quoted security experts as saying the hacked appeared to have some connection to Russian intelligence operatives.