WASHINGTON - The chairman of a House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi formally requested on Friday that Hillary Rodham Clinton turn over her e-mail server for an independent review.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) sent a letter requesting that Clinton, a likely Democratic presidential candidate, turn over to the State Department inspector general or other third party the server she used for official State Department business. The aim would be to have a third party determine what records should be made public.

"Though Secretary Clinton alone is responsible for causing this issue, she alone does not get to determine its outcome," Gowdy said in a statement. His request that she turn over the server is "in the interest of transparency for the American people," Gowdy said of the former secretary of state.

Clinton has pledged that all of her work-related e-mail will be made public but has acknowledged deleting thousands of messages related to personal matters. Clinton has said the server "will remain private."

House Speaker John Boehner has not ruled out a vote in the full House to force Clinton to turn over the server if she declines to make it available.

Clinton is considered the Democratic front-runner if she decides to seek the presidency, and the high-profile Republican investigations are likely to dog her in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department said this week that it shouldn't be required under the Freedom of Information Act to provide e-mails from Clinton that were sent from or received by her private account.

Government lawyers said in a filing to a federal appeals court late Thursday that the FOIA law "creates no obligation for an agency to search for and produce records that it does not possess and control."

The Justice Department acted on the State Department's behalf in a lawsuit by Freedom Watch, a conservative group led by Larry Klayman, who has filed dozens of lawsuits against the Clintons in the past. Klayman asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to hold the former secretary and top aide Cheryl Mills in criminal contempt in relation to its request for documents.