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Hillary Clinton breaks silence on email controversy

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, in retrospect, she should not have relied on private email while in office. However, the potential presidential challenger said she did not send classified material.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Clinton admitted that she should have used a government email while she was Secretary of State, but said it "didn't seem like and issue" at the time.

Clinton - who was speaking publicly on the matter for the first time - said she had decided to rely on a private account as a matter of "convenience" and to avoid carrying two devices.

The former first lady - who is tipped to possibly take a run at the White House in 2016 - said she had never used her personal email to send any classified information.

"I fully complied by every rule I was governed by," said Clinton. Personal emails, such as those about family issues, and the contents of her server would remain private, Clinton said. Many of them - for example relating to her daughter's wedding and mother's funeral - were said to have been destroyed already.

"Everything that would be in any way connected to work is now in possession in the State Department," Clinton said, speaking after a women's forum at the UN in New York.

Question of transparency

Clinton's decision to conduct State Department business with a private email has drawn

criticism from some quarters

. Republicans - who

issued a subpeona

over the matter - have questioned her transparency and ethics, with some of her own party members also urging more disclosure.

White House in Washington

Clinton may try to become even more familiar with the White House than she already is

Clinton, considered a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for US president, spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday about the issue.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier that the institution would make Clinton's emails from her tenure as Secretary of State publicly available online.

Clinton asked the department last week to quickly review and release the information, with officials saying the process - which involves some 55,000 pages of correspondence - would take several months.

Some details to be omitted

The release of the correspondence was set to be in accordance with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) procedures, with details being redacted accordingly to erase private details, trade secrets and national security matters.

The controversy comes ahead of the expected launch of Clinton's

campaign for the White House

, believed to come in the next few weeks.

Clinton

left the State Department in 2013

and provided copies of work-related emails from her tenure in a response to a request by the State Department last year.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, conducted all of his State Department business on a private email account, which has since been closed. None of those records had been archived, Psaki said.

rc/gsw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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