Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event Aug. 15 in Scranton, Pa. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

Shame on Hillary Clinton for trying to drag Colin Powell into her mess.

To suggest in her FBI interview, as the New York Times has reported, that Powell had advised her to use a private email account as secretary of state, as he had done while serving as the nation’s top diplomat, is a sneaky way of trying to say there was an ethical and legal equivalence to their email practices. My Post colleague Chris Cillizza exposed Clinton’s deceit in fact-checking her claim this week.

Another fact: As secretaries of state, Powell and Clinton followed different security practices.

I spoke about this issue directly with Powell this year during a Jan. 31 Sunday brunch. Besides knowing me as a journalist, and as the spouse of one of his former White House colleagues, Powell had not known of my past service as a State Department special agent or my familiarity with security procedures at play during my tenure.

In our conversation, Powell expressed surprise that Clinton had in her house a private email server, which had been used to conduct State Department business. He said he used the State Department’s systems to handle classified information.

FBI Director James B. Comey stated emphatically that Clinton and her colleagues “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” No such charge can be leveled against the former secretary of state, Joint Chiefs chairman and national security adviser.

Powell ought not be dragged down into the mud with Hillary Clinton.

If in fact there is someone among Clinton’s Praetorian Guard who has been manufacturing the arguments used to defend her email malpractice, that loyalist ought to voluntarily clean out the desk and quietly steal away into the night.

However, if Clinton herself has been concocting these absurd excuses for her careless behavior with the nation’s secrets, then her protectors have a duty to cease being enablers and set her straight. So she can talk straight with the nation.