Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton Reuters

Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be in hot water over her use of a personal e-mail account for diplomatic business while serving as the top American diplomat, Yahoo News reports.

The New York Times revealed on Tuesday that Clinton used a personal address during her entire four years as secretary of state.

The Federal Records Act requires that government officials retain all of their written correspondence. As well, under specific guidelines signed into law by President Barack Obama, government e-mail accounts are supposed to be used in any situation involving official business.

The Obama guidelines allow officials to conduct business through personal accounts only if each e-mail is simultaneously retained on the official’s government account or forwarded within 20 days.

In the wake of the revelation, according to Yahoo News, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is planning to subpoena Clintonmail.com for all correspondence related to the 2012 Benghazi attack.

It was the same House investigative committee that discovered, through its investigation of the Benghazi attack, that Clinton had used a personal e-mail account for diplomatic business during her tenure, the report noted.

"Without access to the relevant electronic information and stored data on the server — which was reportedly registered to her home — there is no way the Committee, or anyone else, can fully explain why the Committee uncovered two e-mail addresses,” Jamal D. Ware, communications director for the Select Committee on Benghazi said in a statement Wednesday.

“This is why former Secretary Clinton’s exclusive use of personal e-mails to conduct official U.S. government business is so problematic and raises significant issues for transparency,” Ware added.

“The American people have a right to a full accounting of all the former Secretary’s e-mails, and the Committee is committed to working to uncover all the facts.”

By never having a government e-mail address during her four years at the State Department, transparency advocates argue, Clinton managed to circumvent these rules.

"It's not a random personal account but a carefully calculated system to avoid using public, government-archived e-mail," Republican Rep. Martha Roby, who serves on the House Benghazi committee, was quoted as having told The Associated Press on Wednesday .

Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill, however, has insisted that the presidential hopeful followed the “letter and spirit of the rules.”

Merrill said Clinton “had every expectation [her correspondence] would be retained” because she e-mailed her advisers and colleagues in the State Department using their official addresses.

It is not yet clear what effect, if any, the latest revelation will have on Clinton’s potential presidential run.

Clinton and the Obama administration have been criticized over their handling of the September 11, 2012 attack at the Benghazi consulate, in which the American ambassador to Libya and three others were killed.

Republicans allege security failings led up to the attack and have also claimed there was a possible cover-up over Al-Qaeda's role in the attack.

In a testimony in 2013, Clinton said she took responsibility for the September 11, 2012 attack and cited a "personal" commitment to improving security provisions for U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.

Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz has said he believes Clinton purposely prevented the public release of details pertaining to the attack.

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