Hillary Clinton seemingly did not know the State Department's stance toward American citizens in Benghazi until she heard it on NPR, an email made public Monday suggested.

"Since the Brits, Germans and Dutch have told their citizens to leave Benghazi, why aren't we doing the same?" Clinton wrote in a Jan. 2013 email to a handful of aides.

"NPR just reported that we hadn't because 'The State Department said there were no specific warnings against Americans,'" she added. "That may be, but we didn't think there were before."

Her email came four months after terrorists overran the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi and claimed the lives of four Americans.

However, the agency seemingly issued few warnings to Americans still in the Libyan coastal city months after the attack, despite the fact that U.S. allies had all removed their citizens.

The email's suggestion that the U.S. left Americans in Benghazi amid growing danger reflects what was then an overall effort by the Obama administration to downplay the significance of the violence in Benghazi, from declining to send more security ahead of the Sept. 11 attack to blaming the raid on a spontaneous demonstration.

During an 11-hour hearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi last month, Clinton claimed the State Department was unaware the attack was premeditated until long after the violence had subsided.

But emails obtained by the select committee and made public during the Oct. 22 hearing showed Clinton informed her family and other world leaders that the raid was a coordinated attack within hours of the violence.