CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: One of the cardinal rules is that only the agency that gets the information has the authority to declassify that information, and that's why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton and her team are in such deep trouble over these e-mails.
FOX News confirming the e-mail from aide Huma Abedin to Mrs. Clinton that kick-started the FBI probe contained classified information from three intelligence agencies, the DIA, the NSA and the NGA, which overseas U.S. government spy satellites.
All three agencies have confirmed the intelligence was classified when it was sent three years ago and remains classified to this day. But the State Department claims the intelligence was unclassified even though they didn't own it and released the e-mails, now simply stating there's a difference of opinion.
HILLARY CLINTON: What you're seeing now is a disagreement between agencies saying, 'you know what, they should have,' and the other saying, 'no, they shouldn't.' That has nothing to do with me.
But under this executive order, 13526, signed by Mr. Obama in December 2009, only the three intelligence agencies who own that information in the first place have the authority to declassify it, not Mrs. Clinton and not the State Department.
These classification decisions are final and they are not open to negotiation. Though FOX News has learned that a senior State Department official, Patrick Kennedy -- who is deeply involved in the Benghazi controversy -- is running major interference on the e-mails.
Two sources confirm that Undersecretary Kennedy went to Capitol Hill in early July and argued the Abedin e-mail was not classified, and to make his case Kennedy cited an Irish Times news report about the Libyan revolution to claim the information was already out there. increasingly, the administration is punting on every e-mail question, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.