Democratic Presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks on stage to make a speech where she called for an end to the Cuban trade embargo at the Florida International University on July 31, 2015 in Miami, Florida.
Hillary Clinton denies mishandling classified emails
01:10 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Inspector general: At least four emails reviewed contained classified information

Some emails that contained classified information were not identified that way

CNN  — 

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Saturday said she did not send classified emails from her private server while she was 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,” Clinton told reporters in Winterset, Iowa.

She added that the latest controversy is an example of disagreement among various parts of the government about what should or should not be publicly released.

Clinton’s remarks come after The New York Times reported Thursday night that inspectors general for the intelligence community and the State Department had asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into Clinton’s possible mishandling of classified email. But the paper significantly revised its story the next day to say the matter was referred to Justice to examine whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with Clinton’s account – but not necessarily by Clinton.

On Friday, CNN reported that the inspector general for the intelligence community had informed members of Congress that some material Clinton emailed from her private server contained classified information, but it was not identified that way.

RELATED: Clinton emails contained classified information, official says

Because it was not identified, it is unclear whether Clinton realized she was potentially compromising classified information. The inspector general reviewed a “limited sampling” of her emails, and among those 40 reviewed, found that “four contained classified (intelligence community) information,” inspector general Charles McCullough wrote in a letter to Congress.

McCullough’s office has confirmed it has asked the Justice Department to look into how the State Department handled the classification of documents, but emphasized it was not requesting a criminal investigation.

Clinton said she has no idea what are the four specific emails the inspector general was talking about in his letter to Congress.

“But the facts are pretty clear,” Clinton said. “I did not send or receive anything that was classified at the time.”

Clinton told reporters she turned over 55,000 pages of emails to help the State Department because officials asked all former secretaries to provide any information possible to help with their record keeping.

“So I did, but then I said, ‘OK, so let’s make it public,’” she said. “Now if I had just turned it over, we would not be having this conversation.”

RELATED: Clinton focuses on economy amid email controversy

Clinton said her desire to make things public requires that it goes through the public records request process.

“If we were not asking for it to be made public, there would not be a debate. This is all about my desire to have transparency and make the information public,” she said.

All of the emails are already on the unclassified system of the State Department, Clinton said.

“The vast majority of anything that I sent or received was already on the State Department system, the unclassified State Department system,” she said. “In order to respond to freedom of information requests, you’d have to go through the same process.”

Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short said Clinton “can’t help but continue to mislead the American people.”

“The facts are clear: independent government investigators found that Hillary Clinton possessed information that was classified at the time on her secret email server,” Short said in a statement Saturday. “Hillary Clinton’s reckless attempt to get around public records laws has jeopardized our national security.”