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Officials Seek Criminal Inquiry Over Clinton's Use Of Private Email

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a Hillary For American Discussion with Mayors and Local Official event on Thursday in Columbia, S.C.
(This post was last updated at 11:23 a.m. ET.)

Two inspectors general have asked Justice Department officials to open a criminal inquiry into whether classified information was mishandled in relation to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email account to conduct official business.

That's according to a New York Times report citing unnamed "senior government officials." Those sources, the Times reports, also handed over two memos written by the inspectors general and sent to Patrick F. Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management.

The memos, the Times reports, reveal two important things: First, that investigators found that Clinton's private email account contained "hundreds of potentially classified emails." Second, the investigators found that "at least one email made public by the State Department contained classified information."

NPR's Carrie Johnson reports that the Justice Department has received a criminal referral related to the case.

But, she reports, there has been no decision yet from Justice about whether it will launch an investigation into the State Department Clinton email issue based on the referral.

If you remember, the issue of Clinton's private email account has cast controversy over her burgeoning presidential campaign. Clinton, however, has always maintained that she did not break the law when she opted to use a personal email account instead of a State Department account to conduct official business during her tenure as Secretary of State.

After the Times first revealed the practice, Clinton turned over tens of thousands of emails to the State Department and eventually asked for them to be made public. The State Department is releasing the emails in batches as they are reviewed for sensitive information.

Our friends at It's All Politics took a comprehensive look at the law back in April. They found that whether any law was broken would likely come down to whether classified material was sent over Clinton's personal account.

During a press conference Clinton held in March, she was unequivocal about the issue.

"I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email," Clinton said at the time. "There is no classified material. So I'm certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material."

The Clinton campaign issued a statement on Twitter reiterating that point. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said that Clinton had followed "appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials."

He added: "As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted."

Update at 11:16 a.m. ET. Rep. Cummings Rebuts Reports:

Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, tells The Hill that the State Department Inspector General has told him that he did not request a criminal investigation.

The Hill reports:

"'I spoke personally to the State Department Inspector General on Thursday, and he said he never asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton's email usage,' Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Friday in a statement.

"Instead, Steve Linick, State's Inspector General 'told me the Intelligence Community IG notified the Justice Department and Congress that they identified classified information in a few emails that were part of the [Freedom of Information Act] review, and that none of those emails had been previously marked as classified.'"

Update at 11:03 a.m. ET. The Public Release Of Classified Info:

In a memo dated June 29, Steve Linick, the State Department's inspector general, writes that there was concern that a batch of emails scheduled for release the next day contained "possible classified material."

Another later memo says at least one of those emails containing classified information has been released to the public.

Update at 9:57 a.m. ET. The Memos:

The State Department's Office of the Inspector General has now made the memos the New York Times reported on public. We've uploaded them here. But here is the key paragraph from a July 17, 2015, memo written by Steve Linick, the State Department's inspector general:

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