US Ambassador to Malta Douglas Kmiec sends Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills an email meant for Clinton, and Mills forwards it on to her. The email’s subject heading is: “Re: TIME SENSITIVE AND CONFIDENTIAL — Malta Trip Backgrounder for the Secretary — Confidential.” (“Confidential” is the lowest of three US classification levels.) The five-page email gives a general report on the personnel at the US embassy in Malta, plus other information about Malta.
All of the email will later be unredacted, except for one sentence: “The defense attaché there now is new [redacted] beloved and hardworking – and to good effect, patrolling the waters and the ports for drugs, traffickers, and terror related figures.”
The reason given for the redacted portion is the mention of a secret CIA official. As a result, the entire email will later be deemed “secret,” one level higher than “confidential.”
Clinton replies to the email, sending all of the original message to her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin as well. But Clinton only discusses her travel plans, and makes no mention of the CIA official. (US Department of State, 1/29/2016)