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Hillary Clinton sent Chelsea a classified email, then deleted it

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with daughter, Chelsea Clinton (Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton forwarded an email to her daughter, Chelsea, that the State Department is now saying contained classified information, according to a new batch of recovered documents released Friday.

The email chain, which was sent Dec. 20, 2009, and titled "Update," started with White House Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman and was forwarded by policy aide Jake Sullivan to Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time. Clinton then forwarded the message, which was given the classification stamp of "Confidential," again, this time to her daughter.

Given most of the email content is redacted, the exact details of the thread are unclear, but it appears to pertain to global climate change negotiations, according to Politico:

Froman sent the first message in the chain on December 19, 2009, the day after Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama took part in whirlwind talks in Denmark over a possible international agreement to combat global warming. Among those sent the earliest message was White House environmental adviser Carol Browner.


Notations indicate the information was classified because it came from a foreign government or pertained to diplomatic exchanges.

When Sullivan first sent the message to Clinton, he commented: "Wow--you can't make this up--sorry to have missed all of that! Let me know if you learn anything else."

In a statement on the development, John Kirby, a spokesman for the State Department, stressed the fact that the "Confidential" classification was an "upgrade," as the agency calls it, and said he is not sure the email should have been treated as such when it was originally sent.

The portion of this email that was upgraded was provided to the Department by former Secretary Clinton back in December 2014. It was upgraded to confidential – the lowest level of classification – and released in October 2015 during our regular productions of approximately 52,000 pages of former Secretary Clinton’s emails. As to whether emails were classified at the time they were sent, the State Department in the [Freedom of Information Act] process is focusing on whether information needs to be protected today.

It is important to note that it is not clear why — or when — Clinton might have deleted the email she forwarded to Chelsea. The Clinton campaign has not immediately responded to the latest email dump, but has consistently said the Democratic presidential nominee does not believe any of the emails she sent or received were classified.

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