Two government watchdogs at the center of an investigation over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump defends indicted GOP congressman GOP lawmaker says he expects to be indicted over FBI investigation Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on MORE’s personal email server say she shouldn’t have sent classified information over her private system while serving as secretary of State.
“This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system,” the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community said in a joint statement on Friday.
On Thursday, the inspector general of the intelligence community told Congress in a letter that at least four emails out of a small sampling of 40 from Clinton’s server should have been classified as "secret."
The pair acknowledged a referral had been made “detailing the potential compromise of classified information to security” to officials in the executive branch.
“The main purpose of the referral was to notify security officials that classified information may exist on at least one private server and thumb drive that are not in the government’s possession,” they explained.
The notice was not to “make a criminal referral — it was a security referral made to counterintelligence purposes,” according to the duo.
The joint statement comes hours after reports that the inspectors general had asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe into Clinton’s email setup.
Justice initially described the potential probe as criminal but has since walked that back.
"The Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a criminal referral," a Department of Justice official told The Hill in a statement.
The flurry of media attention prompted the 2016 presidential contender to weigh in on the controversy during a previously planned economic speech in New York.
“Maybe the heat is getting to everybody. We all have a responsibility to get this right; I have released 55,000 pages of emails, I have said repeatedly that I will answer questions in front of the House committee,” Clinton said.
“We are all accountable to the American people to get their facts right, and I will do my part, but I will also stay focused on the issues,” she added.
The statement by the inspectors general is sure to be picked up by Republicans on the campaign trail and in Congress as they try to paint Clinton as untrustworthy and not deserving of the White House.
— This story was updated at 5:31 p.m.