Is there usable info in Clinton's email server?

The private e-mail server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state is in the hands of the FBI. What's on it? Maybe nothing. What was on it? That's what they're trying to find out.

The FBI took possession of the email server on Wednesday as it works to determine whether the private email account Clinton used as Secretary of State could have been compromised.

The server the FBI picked up was stored not at the Clinton's Chappaqua, N.Y. home, as many assumed, but at a data center in New Jersey.

GOP candidates blast Clinton over private email server scandal

A lawyer for Platte River Networks, the IT Firm that manages the Clinton's email system, told CBS News that the server was moved to the New Jersey facility sometime after Clinton left the State Department. When the Clinton's upgraded their system, the lawyer said the old server is now blank and likely does not contain usable information.

"You can eliminate data from any sort of hard drive or server. Someone may be able to recover it depending on how good they are, and how good a job you did in deleting it in the first place," said CNET'S Dan Ackerman.

Ackerman says the most common method for wiping data clean is to overwrite it multiple times.

"Almost as if you write something on a chalkboard and then you erase it, and then you write over it and then erase it, then write over it and then erase it," he said. "Eventually, no matter how closely you look you're never going to be able to see what the original thing that you wrote was."

Hillary Clinton turns in private server to investigators

Clinton has acknowledged that she mass-deleted up to 32,000 emails she considered personal.

"I did not see a reason to keep them," she said, speaking at the U.N. in her first comments about the controversy.

The Inspector General for the Intelligence Community says a review of just 40 of her work-related emails yielded four that contained classified information and thus should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system like a home server.

"If you have any sort of device connected to the internet, you've created a pathway into it," said Ackerman

The Inspector General also says two of those four emails should have been labeled "Top Secret" because in part they contained satellite-based intelligence. And keep in mind, that determination stemmed from a review of just one-tenth of one percent of Clinton's emails.

  • Nancy Cordes
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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.