Hillary Clinton's private inbox attracted a wide variety of emails, from classified material to mundane agency memos. It was also a magnet for flattery from people across her political network, all of them hoping to curry favor with the secretary of state and prospective presidential candidate.

While adulation is a common currency in Washington, observers have noted Clinton racked up a particularly high volume of praise during her years at the State Department. Friends and staff fawned over everything from her fashion choices to her television interviews, assuring Clinton that "our country is so lucky to have [her]" and that "America is better because she served."

Why emails applauding Clinton's looks and affirming her greatness were included among her work-related records, but other emails about Benghazi were not, is unclear.

What is clear is the fact that Clinton's staff seemed fiercely protective of their boss, selectively passing along only press clippings and messages that were friendly to the secretary of state.

Complimentary staff

Outsiders looking in were not the only ones showering Clinton with compliments while she served as the nation's top diplomat. Her inner circle of staff also laid it on thick in their daily interactions with Clinton.

When Mark Penn, a former campaign advisor to Clinton in 2008 who went on to work for Microsoft, gave Clinton his unvarnished opinion about how she performed during Jan. 2013 congressional hearings about Benghazi, Clinton's staff were quick to tear into his analysis.

"I don't think the emotion in the hearing works to your advantage-- looks more like they rattled you on something no one outside the crazy right blamed you for anyway," Penn wrote of Clinton's testimony, during which she briefly choked up.

Clinton passed the email on to two of her aides.

"[H]ere's first discordant note--just to keep it real," she said.

Philippe Reines, a top Clinton communications aide, quickly dismissed Penn's view.

"Give me a break," Reines wrote. "You did not look rattled. You looked real. There's a difference. A big one."

Jake Sullivan, another top Clinton staffer, agreed with his colleague.

"My problem with Mark's analysis is that it repeats the same flawed assumption that underpinned his advice in 2008; namely, that being yourself is risky," Sullivan said.

Clinton's aides raved about her Benghazi testimony.

"You made all of us very proud," one staff member wrote.

Another said he and his wife "were both incredibly impressed by her performance (as were millions of others)."

Clinton's former staff members still had high praise for their superior after moving on from her team.

Neera Tanden, Clinton's 2008 campaign policy director, proposed writing pieces and holding a conference for the Center for American progress, where she went on to work, about Clinton's management style.

"I don't know of a boss who has been more understanding about work-life balance with her employees - in really high pressure situations -than you," Tanden wrote in July 2012.

"I want to write about this. About the flexibility you showed - even in the highest pressured moments," she said.

Tanden noted "great bosses" like Clinton made it "much better to work for you than other people."

Jason Mack, a former advance team member for Clinton, thanked top aide Huma Abedin and Clinton for "helping me feel like I mattered not only as an employee but as a person" and said Abedin, Clinton and her team "all genuinely care about the people around you and it shows."

Anne Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the State Department, was one of Clinton's most prolific complimenters even after moving on to teach at Princeton University.

Slaughter told Clinton she was a "strong, decisive leader who is not afraid to stand up for herself but is also willing to admit error and take action as necessary" after her Benghazi testimony.

She sent notes praising "great, great" speeches, applauded Clinton's policy decisions and assured her she was "shaping a tremendous legacy."

"You simply cannot imagine the outpouring of concern and good wishes for your health that I am encountering everywhere I go," Slaughter wrote shortly after Clinton suffered a concussion.

"You have EARNED their admiration, in a job that is traditionally almost invisible to the US public," she added. "This outpouring of concern and affection is the most genuine verdict on your performance you could ask for."

Members of Clinton's staff constantly sent her articles that depicted her policies in a flattering light, but passed on few stories that were critical of her tenure.

Not all State Department staff were intent on getting in good with the agency's leader, however.

Pamela White, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, sent Clinton flowers upon her departure from the State Department.

"Hope not too ass kissy but I HAD to do something," White wrote.

Political friends

Clinton made many friendships during her decades in politics that followed her into the State Department, as many of her associates seemingly awaited her departure from the agency and her entry into the next presidential race.

Using words such as "triumph," "fabulous," and "masterful," various lobbyists, academics and executives were constantly in touch to shower Clinton with compliments about her job performance.

Some had Clinton's personal email address and reached out to her directly, while others routed their praise through her top aides.

People who would go onto play a role in Clinton's 2016 effort were sure to make their accolades heard while she served as secretary of state.

For example, Ellen Malcolm, chair of the pro-choice group EMILY's List, emailed Clinton's chief of staff to commend a series of "wonderful" media interviews Clinton had given. EMILY's List was quick to endorse Clinton when she entered the presidential primary.

Tom Healy, chairman of the Fulbright Scholarship Board, described Clinton as "fierce" and "brilliant" in an email to Cheryl Mills, Clinton's top aide, in which he alluded to the secretary's political future.

"[S]he was incredible," Healy wrote. "[S]o, what's the right word? [P]residential."

Members of the media also weighed in on Clinton's tenure.

Sally Quinn, a Washington Post writer, asked one of Clinton's aides to pass on praise of her Jan. 2013 Benghazi testimony.

"Please tell Hillary that she was absolutely fabulous testifying before the Senate last week," Quinn wrote.

Karen Finney, a former MSNBC host who reportedly joined Clinton's campaign staff earlier this year, said Clinton's Benghazi testimony was "fantastic."

"Did those boys really think she wouldn't come prepared?" Finney wrote.