WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton, facing criticism over her exclusive use of a private email account while US secretary of state, has called for her emails to be made public after Republicans subpoenaed the documents.

‘I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They (the State Department) said they will review them for release as soon as possible,’ Clinton said in a tweet late Wednesday night. Clinton, a leading Democrat contender likely to enter the 2016 presidential race, faced criticism this week when it emerged that she exclusively used a private email account for her work while serving as the US top diplomat from 2009 to 2013.

The revelations opened a potential legal quagmire, with accusations that she violated federal record-keeping rules. Clinton’s tweet came after a day of manoeuvring over her use of a private e-mail system, which was first reported earlier this week by The New York Times.

State spokeswoman Marie Harf said the department will review the e-mails provided by Clinton. ‘We will undertake this review as quickly as possible,’ Harf said. ‘Given the sheer volume of the document set, this review will take some time to complete.’ Clinton reportedly used a private e-mail server installed in her home and her own Internet domain - clintonemail.com - to conduct public business during her tenure as Secretary of State. When the State Department requested she return those government records, she provided department, the department has said. But Republicans are demanding an independent investigation to review all her e-mails, not just the ones she ‘handpicked for release.’’ The fact Hillary Clinton set up a ‘homebrewed’ email system in her house to skirt federal recordkeeping regulations is a pretty good indicator of just how transparent she’s interested in being,’ said spokesman Michael Short.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi on Wednesday already has about 300 pages of those e-mails, and on Wednesday issued subpoenas for the rest to the State Department and to Clinton individually.

Congressman Trey Gowdy, the Republican chairman of the panel, said he has records with two different e-mail addresses used by Clinton, but the State Department said there is only one e-mail account and that the use of private e-mail was not prohibited during Clinton’s four-year tenure. The committee - which is investigating the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya - issued letters to unnamed Internet companies instructing them to preserve records relevant to the investigation.

Democrats on the committee said internal and congressional investigations have found no evidence to suggest that Clinton issued a ‘stand down’ order during the consulate attack. ‘The quicker these emails can be made public, the sooner we can put these myths to rest once and for all,’ said Congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat. ‘I don’t think this is going to have very long legs,’ said Carol Fowler, a former chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, who backs Clinton’s likely candidacy.

Had Clinton already had a formal campaign operation in place, ‘she would have been able to handle more efficiently’ the political frenzy around the e-mails, Fowler said. ‘But she’s a lot smarter than I am. If she believes this is the way to go about it, I’m not going to argue with her,’ she said. ‘We are just ready for her to get in. We want her to have a campaign.’