WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Huge gaps exist in the emails former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has provided to a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the panel’s chairman said on Sunday.
Republican Representative Trey Gowdy said his committee lacked documentation from Clinton’s trip to Libya after the attack despite a popular photo image of her using a handheld device during a flight to that country.
“We have no emails from that day. In fact we have no emails from that trip,” said Gowdy, who heads the committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. “There are huge gaps.”
Widely considered the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton used a private email account for all official business as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Republicans have scrutinized Clinton’s actions over the Benghazi attack in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other people were killed. The private email disclosure, published in The New York Times last week, raised Republican concerns about Clinton’s commitment to transparency.
She has since asked the State Department to release her emails but a State Department official said the review would take some time.
Clinton gave the committee eight emails last August and 300 in February related to the attack, Gowdy said on CBS’s Face the Nation. Last week, the committee subpoenaed the State Department for other emails. Gowdy said that in fairness the committee would not release the emails’ content selectively.
The State Department has requested email records from all former secretaries of state, and Clinton has given it 50,000 pages of records to review.
Speaking separately on Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, responding to reports he too had a private email account rather than a government one, said he did not have emails to give the department.
“I retained none of those emails and we are working with the State Department to see if there’s anything else they want to discuss with me about those emails,” he said on ABC’s This Week.
Powell said that when he started as secretary of state under Republican President George W. Bush, the State Department computer systems were antiquated and he strove to update them. In November, its unclassified email system was hacked and had to be shut down temporarily.
Obama said on Saturday he only recently learned of Clinton’s private email account.
Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Howard Goller