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Fed Source: About 12 FBI Agents Working on Clinton Email Inquiry

Sources close to the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's email are knocking down suggestions that 147 federal agents are working on the case, a figure first reported — and now revised — by the Washington Post, citing a lawmaker.

The Post updated the figure on Tuesday, stating that while the "FBI will not provide an exact figure," there are "fewer than 50" FBI personnel involved in the case.

But a former federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Clinton investigation tells MSNBC an estimate anywhere near 50 agents is also off base.

Image: Hillary Clinton appears before the House Select Committee on Benghazi
Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Oct. 22. SHAWN THEW / EPA file

"There are currently about 12 FBI agents working full-time on the case," says the source, who would only speak anonymously about an open investigation.

A former FBI official, also speaking anonymously, says many in the law enforcement community view the large estimates of people assigned to the case as completely improbable.

"147 was such a ridiculous number," said the source, adding that 50 also sounded unrealistic for this kind of inquiry. "You need an act of terrorism to get 50 agents working on something," said the former FBI official.