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House Benghazi Panel Subpoenas Clinton's Personal Emails

FILE - Hillary Clinton, who at the time was U.S. secretary of state, checks her mobile phone after speaking to the U.N. Security Council in New York, March 12, 2012.

A congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya issued subpoenas Wednesday for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's personal emails, which have created a political storm for the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.

The U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on Benghazi demanded all communications from Clinton related to the incident, in which a U.S. ambassador was killed.

The panel also sent letters to Internet companies telling them to protect any documents relevant to the ongoing investigation, Jamal Ware, communications director for the Benghazi committee, said in a statement.

Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Benghazi panel, told reporters Wednesday that within two weeks, he must have either the documents or a "really good explanation'' of why they may be delayed.

Clinton's emails caused a political uproar this week after The New York Times reported she may have violated federal rules by using a personal email account exclusively to conduct official business during her four years as secretary.

Republicans also have been scrutinizing Clinton's actions and communications surrounding the Benghazi attack, when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed during an assault on the U.S. consulate. Republican lawmakers believe she did not do enough to ensure the safety of Americans in Libya.

Gowdy said his panel initially asked the State Department for emails relating to Benghazi.

"It was only last week that we discovered they can't produce all of her emails to us because they don't have all of her emails,'' Gowdy said of Clinton.

Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Benghazi committee, said the Republicans' actions have led him to believe they simply want to attack Clinton. He noted that Colin Powell, the secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, a Republican, had used personal emails.

"I did not want to believe it. But everything I've seen so far ... has led me to believe that this is meant to go after Hillary Clinton. And I think that's very, very unfortunate,'' Cummings told reporters.

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