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FBI Asked Anew About San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are asking the FBI to explain what they called a “troubling” recent report that appears to show the agency failed to exhaust all technical possibilities before pushing Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, on Friday sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, citing a report by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General that was published in March.

Statements made by officials involved in the investigation “appear to indicate that the FBI was more interested in forcing Apple to comply than getting into the device,” the letter says.

“It was not until the night before the FBI’s suit against Apple, which was predicted ‘on the notion that technical assistance from Apple was necessary to search the contents of the device,’ that the FBI first consulted the third-party vendor that it knew had nearly completed a solution,” the lawmakers also said.

In December 2015, Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people at Farook’s workplace in San Bernardino. After the couple was killed in a shootout with police, Farook’s passcode-protected iPhone became the center of an encryption battle between the FBI and Apple, which refused to help unlock the phone — setting off a heated debate over privacy vs. national security.

In February 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter: “The U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.”

Malik was said to have pledged allegiance to ISIS and her husband, a U.S. citizen, was said to have been radicalized. Cook stressed that Apple had “no sympathy for terrorists.” But Apple’s chief executive characterized…


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