While Hillary Clinton maintained to have only allowed “sensitive but unclassified” information to go through her private email server, that’s no longer technically the case. Earlier today, the FBI ordered that parts of an email containing information about the Benghazi attacks go from unclassified to “secret.”
The now-classified email was forwarded to Clinton by her deputy chief of staff regarding the arrests of possible suspects in Libya with the comment “FYI.” And according to State Department officials, just 23 words from a message sent in November of 2012 were redacted of the 296 total emails released today “to protect information that may damage foreign relations.”
It is at the end of a chain of communication that originated with Bill Roebuck, the then-director of the Office of Maghreb Affairs, that pointed out that Libyan police had arrested several people who might have connections to the attack. The redacted portion appears to relate to who provided the information about the alleged suspects to the Libyans. A total of five lines related to the source of the information were affected, but only the 23 words were deleted because the FBI deemed them to be classified.
To Clinton’s credit, the information wasn’t actually classified at the time the email was sent, which means that her use of the account may very well still have been fully legal. This does, however, illustrate the the huge problems with using an unsecured account for any sort of sensitive information at all. Especially as the Secretary of State, it’s impossible to know when something could become a matter of national security.