Newly disclosed correspondence between State Department officials in 2013 suggest the agency was aware of 17 Freedom of Information Act requests for Hillary Clinton's emails more than a year before asking the former secretary of state to hand over records from her server.

The email chain, which was in a batch of documents obtained by conservative-leaning Judicial Watch, revealed that a FOIA officer sought "a copy of all requests related to Secretary Clinton's emails" in Aug. 2013 and pressed colleagues about specific requests from Gawker, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Judicial Watch itself.

The CREW records request, which sought documentation in 2012 of all the email accounts Clinton used during her tenure, has received renewed attention amid emails and inspector general findings that indicate the request was improperly dismissed by officials who knew of Clinton's private accounts but did not disclose them.

Cheryl Mills, then Clinton's chief of staff, testified under oath that she had not been made aware of the CREW request before a subsequently-released batch of documents revealed she had been copied on emails discussing the blocked inquiry.

State Department officials have maintained that they did not discover Clinton's use of a private email address and server until the House Select Committee on Benghazi requested records related to the 2012 terror attack.

However, the Benghazi committee was not formed until May 2014. The 17 FOIA requests for Clinton documents — including four that specifically mentioned emails — came well before agency officials claimed they realized no official Clinton emails existed in their archive.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the new correspondence suggests "the Obama State Department knew about the Clinton email problem" well before it said so publicly.