Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, disputed reports Friday that suggested the State Department's inspector general had pushed for a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email arrangement.

"I spoke personally to the State Department Inspector General on Thursday, and he said he never asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton's email usage," the Maryland Democrat said.

Cummings noted the agency watchdog, Steve Linnick, instead informed him the intelligence community's inspector general had alerted the Justice Department and Congress to the presence of classified information in a handful of emails that were under agency review for release under the Freedom of Information Act.

"The Benghazi Select Committee has obtained zero evidence that any emails to or from Secretary Clinton were marked as classified at the time they were transmitted, although some have been retroactively classified since then," Cummings added.

Hundreds of Hillary Clinton's private emails contained information that was "potentially classified," despite her repeated claims that she never handled sensitive information improperly on her server.

The revelation emerged in a June 29 memo to the top State Department records official sent by the agency's own inspector general, along with the watchdog from the intelligence community, that outlined their concerns about Clinton's treatment of sensitive information, according to a report in the New York Times Thursday evening.

In a second memo sent July 17, the inspectors general said at least one email already released by the State Department had contained classified information.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, blasted Clinton for her alleged misuse of sensitive information.

"In the last couple of weeks hundreds of thousands of Americans had their personal data exposed because the administration failed to keep it safe," Priebus said Friday, referring to a recent high-profile government hack. "Now we learn that Hillary Clinton's desire to play by her own rules may have further exposed classified information. While a full investigation by the Justice Department is not just needed, but required, Hillary Clinton must also hand her entire secret server over to an independent third party for further review."

During a press conference in March, Clinton made her first public assertion that she never sent or received classified information on the home-brew server she used to host an entire email network.

But because the State Department had never been in possession of those emails — and had no knowledge of their existence — until after her tenure, the records wouldn't have had an official classification designation at the time even if their contents were clearly worthy of being classified.

That was apparently the case for the dozens of private emails released by the State Department in May and June that were "retroactively" classified.

After the agency finally received those records, which should have been housed on government servers in the first place, it was able to properly classify the information Clinton sent and received on her server.

The revelation that hundreds more of the hand-selected emails Clinton turned over to the State Department late last year could also be classified emerged from the June 29 assessment that was sent to Patrick Kennedy, the agency official in charge of record-keeping.

Kennedy has repeatedly emerged in Clinton-related controversies at the State Department.

He allegedly blocked a security investigation of an ambassador that was accused of soliciting underage prostitutes in order to spare the State Department certain embarrassment.

Kennedy was also cited by at least one State Department official as a responsible party in the security failures that led to the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi.

The State Department's office of inspector general, which spearheaded the effort to open a criminal probe of Clinton's email activities, was empty during all four years of time at the agency.

Harold Geisel, who served as interim inspector general until after Clinton stepped down, was accused of whitewashing reports that might have drawn negative attention to the agency by removing critical language from the final drafts.

Cummings repeated criticisms of what he sees as Republican attempts to smear Clinton's presidential campaign.

"This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines-only to be corrected later-and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas," he said.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.