As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry sent an email now classified as "secret" to former secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011.
The Hill reported that Kerry sent the message from a "non-official account," State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed. The agency spokesman also said that the account is "no longer active" and that Kerry, now secretary of state, currently uses an email issued by the State Department.
Kerry, then a senator, sent the email on May 19, 2011, to Clinton and Thomas Donilon, a former national security adviser to President Obama. Though heavily redacted, the email referenced the Indian prime minister’s visit to Afghanistan and the relationship between India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The email was released by the State Department in the latest batch of Clinton emails last week and is classified as "secret" for holding information about U.S. foreign relations and foreign governments.
"The visit of Indian Prime Minister Singh to Kabul last week was a very significant event. His speech before Parliament should be closely tracked against Pakistani policy," Kerry wrote in an unreacted portion of the email. "They are, in fact, closely aligned and that is not an accident on the part of India. I believe this visit affirms the possibilities of the Indian-Afghan-Pakistan track and merits our whole hearted, immediate followup."
The message was sent from Kerry’s iPad.
Clinton has been widely scrutinized for her use of personal email to conduct sensitive government business while at the State Department, a matter that is now being investigated by the FBI and congressional committees. Last Friday, the State Department confirmed that at least 22 emails held on Clinton’s private server are highly classified as top secret, and the emails were blocked from being released.
In sum, over 1,300 Clinton emails released by the State Department have been classified. It is unclear whether the emails contained classified information at the time they were sent. Clinton has insisted that she never sent nor received information marked classified on her private email.
Kerry succeeded Clinton as secretary of state in 2013 after serving 28 years in the U.S. Senate.