CBSN

How detailed was Clinton's process for deleting emails?

Hillary Rodham Clinton is widely expected to announce her second bid for the White House within the next month, but for now, she's still trying to move past the lingering scrutiny of her email habits as secretary of state.

Clinton is featured on the cover of the latest issue of "Time" magazine, in silhouette and under the headline "The Clinton Way." The article suggests Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, "write their own rules" in the battle that is U.S. politics, and it asks whether the tactics can see the veteran Democrat through the current controversy over the emails.

Alex Altman, Washington D.C. correspondent for "Time," told CBSN on Thursday that, as the magazine's cover story explains, Clinton and her team of lawyers decided which of the more than 60,000 emails on her personal server should be deleted based on simple key-word searches, rather than a detailed inspection of each of the messages.

By law any emails pertaining to Clinton's official work as Secretary of State were supposed to have been copied into government servers for permanent records. An archives expert told "Time" that the methodology used by Clinton's team to determine which emails met the criteria for permanent storage "did not meet best practices."

"She basically looked first at all the emails that included a .gov email address, then she used key words; words like 'Benghazi,' like 'Libya,' the names of particular staff that she was known to have emailed. So rather than go through and look at them one-by-one, she essentially chose some shortcuts, and while they may have made sense, that practice essentially raises the chance that an email that was work-related and therefore had to be public record might have slipped through the cracks," Altman told CBSN's Jeff Glor.

Republicans have demanded a "forensic" examination of the server at Clinton's residence in Chappaqua, New York. But in spite of the unrelenting pressure on the expected two-time presidential candidate, Altman urged caution against counting out the Democratic family which has weathered a storm or two in the past.

"One thing that the Clintons have been very deft at over the years is turning an issue, when they are under scrutiny, against their enemies," Altman told CBSN.

"We saw Hillary Clinton talk about the 'vast right-wing conspiracy,' and I think that one of the tactics that they've used over the years is knowing that, when they're talking about their enemies rather than themselves, it's been a good tool to pull them out of scrapes, and the more Republicans come after her and potentially over-reach, it becomes about them rather than about her own conduct."