The Justice Department said Friday that it has been asked to probe the “potential compromise of classified information” in connection with the private e-mail account Hillary Rodham Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.
The statement did not say who sought the investigation but noted that it was “not a criminal referral.” Separately, Justice officials said no decision has been made on whether to move forward with the examination of the e-mails — which are already being reviewed by teams led by the State Department.
The comments sought to clarify the status of the request following a series of accounts. The New York Times first reported Thursday that the inspectors general of the State Department and the intelligence agencies had asked for a criminal investigation related to Clinton’s e-mail account. Justice officials later confirmed to The Washington Post that a criminal probe was under consideration.
Then the Justice Department statement answered one question, but left another open. It said a “referral” was made, although it did not say who originated it. “It is not a criminal referral,” the statement said.
Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account was revealed in March. She set up an exclusive and private e-mail server for all of her departmental communications, but she has said she did not use it for classified information.
The State Department is currently reviewing some 55,000 pages of e-mails. About 3,000 have been made public so far, many of them with redactions that might indicate the presence of sensitive, if not classified, information.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign did not offer any comment Thursday night on the Times report.