A spokesman for the State Department admitted Wednesday the agency was aware hackers had attempted to breach Hillary Clinton's private server.
"I do know there were hack attempts, but none of them were successful," said Mark Toner, State Department spokesman, at an agency briefing.
Toner was addressing questions about an inspector general report released to lawmakers earlier Wednesday that highlighted problems with Clinton's private email use.
When pressed on the fact that the watchdog report did not actually specify whether attempted cybersecurity breaches were successful, Toner said he "misspoke."
"The OIG report doesn't address specifically the security of her system, including whether or not any of the reported attempted hacks were successful," Toner said. "For that, I would just have to refer you to her team about whether they were [successful]."
Clinton's private email use was thrown back into the spotlight Wednesday when the State Department's inspector general sent out the results of a year-long audit to lawmakers.
One reporter questioned why the State Department commented on the report in a background briefing call earlier Wednesday but refused to discuss the report in the public briefing because it was a "leaked" document.
"I take objection to your allegation that it's some kind of spin effort," Toner said of the State Department's background comments on the conference call.
The State Department maintained its position that Clinton's private email use was not explicitly prohibited by rules that were in place during her tenure.
"I am aware senior State Department officials ... said they wouldn't have approved it," he said of the report's assertion that agency leadership claimed they were not consulted about her email arrangement.
"I'm not going to challenge those assertions. As I've said, she herself has said she would not have done it the same way," he added.
"The fact that she turned over some 50,00 pages of her emails, I think the OIG recognized that, in some ways, mitigated past preservation problems," Toner said when pressed on the discrepancy between the agency's past claims that there was no wrongdoing in Clinton's email use and the inspector general's findings that Clinton had indeed violated federal records rules.
Clinton has struggled to address concerns over the past year that her private email server may have placed classified intelligence at risk.