I agree. If someone sends the FBI clearance to their state and waited a week or a month just to get a denied letter back, it’s really unfortunate especially when there’s a 3 month shelf life for the FBI clearance.
It’s impossible to know exactly how the conversation went. I can imagine if someone asks a Portuguese lawyer, “Would SEF accept state-issued apostille for the FBI clearance instead of the one from the U.S. Department of state?” The lawyer would likely say yes to these types of question because it has an assumption that it could be done by state authorities. And also because the lawyers have seen other documents come through with apostilles from state authorities.