The State Department on Friday defended its process for identifying and redacting classified material in emails it releases from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, even though two inspectors general have said at least one of the emails that was made public contained classified information.
Inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence agencies have recommended that the Justice Department review State's process to ensure more classified data isn't exposed. That recommendation came just a few weeks after the IGs decided that Clinton's personal emails did in fact include potentially classified information.
That finding may go against Clinton's comments for the last few months that she never sent any information over her private email account that was classified at the time it was sent.
While the State Department's process for vetting Clinton's emails has been called into question, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said State's system is "solid."
"We have had a very rigorous process, internally and frankly sharing with other agencies when their equities are involved, in clearing these emails and redacting them as necessary," he told reporters.
"All I can say is from our part, we've had a process in place," he said. "We feel it's a solid one that's in accordance with all the other federal agencies."
Toner refused several times to say that State was disputing the claims of the IGs. When asked twice if State disputes the idea that some classified information has been released, he dodged the question both times.
But while he didn't admit it explicitly, it seems clear State disagrees with the findings. He said State outlined a process by which it is free to decide when "certain portions need to be redacted, but not the entire thing needed to be classified."
When asked if State disagreed with the IGs' findings, he declined to comment.
"I'm not going to speak to that," he said. "All I'm going to say is that we have made a determination of the emails that we've released and redacted on what should be upgraded."
The closest he got to admitting an inter-government fight over how to classify the information was after being asked whether State is defending its process despite the finding of the IGs.
To that, Toner said, "Sure."
While some press reports say the Justice Department has been asked to settle the fight, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., disputed those reports and said there is no request for a probe.