Hillary Clinton Says She Didn't Send or Receive Information Classified at the Time

The debate over whether some messages should have been classified has only become an issue because of her desire for transparency, the candidate argues.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is viewed after speaking at New York University on July 24, 2015 in New York City.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Saturday that she neither sent nor received materials considered classified at the time through the private e-mail account she used while serving as secretary of state.

“I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” she told reporters in Winterset, Iowa, after news emerged this week that a federal watchdog had asked the FBI to review whether potentially classified material in her e-mails had been jeopardized during a State Department review of the messages ahead of public release.

“The facts are pretty clear,” she said, reiterating her campaign's message on Friday as news of the referral unfolded.

The current confusion, Clinton said, comes from disagreements between federal agencies about whether certain information should have been characterized as classified at the time.

“What I think you’re seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion—to some extent disagreement—among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released,” she said.

In a line of argument similar to the defense from the candidate and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, about some of the Clinton Foundation’s controversial donors, Hillary Clinton said the debate over whether some messages should have been classified had only become an issue because of her request that the State Department release her e-mails in the interest of transparency.

“If I just turned it over, we would not be having this conversation,” she said. “But when I said, 'Hey, I want it to be public,' it has to go through the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] process. That’s what’s going on here. And I am going to continue to say that I want it to be made public as soon as it possibly can. And we will do whatever we can to try to get the process to move along.”

Clinton ducked a question about whether the Justice Department should investigate the possible transmission of classified materials through unsecured channels.

“They can fight over it or argue over it. That’s up to them,” she said, holding up her palms to the reporters questioning her. “I can just tell you what the facts are. And there is nothing contradicted in those facts by anything that anybody has said so far.”

A report from the federal watchdog said the office had found four e-mails out of a sample for 40 containing classified intelligence community information that should have been marked and handled at the secret level. 

Asked whether she knew what those four e-mails were, Clinton said, “I have no idea.”

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