Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton Reuters

An internal government review found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent at least four emails from her personal account containing classified information during her time heading the State Department, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

In a letter to members of Congress on Thursday, the inspector general of the intelligence community concluded that Clinton’s email contains material from the intelligence community that should have been considered “secret” at the time it was sent.

A copy of the letter to Congress was provided to The Wall Street Journal by a spokeswoman for the inspector general.

Clinton is facing criticism for having used a personal email address during her entire four years as secretary of state, despite the fact that under specific guidelines signed into law by President Barack Obama, government email accounts are supposed to be used in any situation involving official business.

Clinton has said she used private emails out of "convenience", though she has also admitted it "would have been better" to have two accounts to separate work and personal emails.

As a result of the findings regarding the four classified emails, the inspector general referred the matter to the FBI’s counterintelligence division, according to The Wall Street Journal.

An official with the Department of Justice said Friday that it had received a referral to open an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified information. Initially, a Justice Department official said Friday morning the investigation was criminal in nature, but the department reversed course hours later without explanation.

“The department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a criminal referral,” an official was quoted as having said.

The four emails in question “were classified when they were sent and are classified now,” said Andrea Williams, a spokeswoman for the inspector general. The inspector general reviewed just a small sample totaling about 40 emails in Clinton’s inbox—meaning that many more in the trove of more than 30,000 may contain potentially confidential, secret or top-secret information.

The inspector general’s office concluded that Clinton should have used a secure network to transmit the emails in question, rather than her personal email account run off a home server.

Clinton, considered a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on Friday in New York that there were “inaccuracies” in reports about her email usage, but didn’t offer specifics, according to the report.

She noted that she has voluntarily released 55,000 pages of email and offered to testify before a congressional committee. Last month, the State Department said it cannot find 15 work-related emails from Clinton's private server that were released by a committee probe of the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

“Maybe the heat is getting to everybody,” Clinton said on Friday, adding, “We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right, and I will do my part. But I’m also going to stay focused on the issues, particularly the big issues that really matter to American families.”

The State Department said on Friday that it didn’t believe any of the emails Clinton sent during her time in office contained any classified material.

“To our knowledge, none of them needed to be classified at the time,” Mark Toner, a department spokesman, was quoted as having said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)