FBI Releases Documents, Deletes Details, On Hacking San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has released 100 pages of heavily censored documents related to its agreement with an unidentified vendor to hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters, but it did not identify whom it paid to perform the work or how much it cost.

The records were provided Friday in response to a federal lawsuit filed against the FBI by The Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett, the parent company of USA Today.

The media organizations sued in September to learn how much the FBI paid and who it hired to break into the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people at a holiday gathering of county workers in December 2015. The FBI for weeks had maintained that only Apple Inc. could access the information on its phone, which was protected by encryption, but ultimately broke or bypassed Apple’s digital locks with the help of an unnamed third party.

The FBI, in its records release Friday, censored critical details that would have shown how much the FBI paid, whom it hired and how it opened the phone. The files had been marked “secret” before they were turned over under the lawsuit.

The files make clear that the FBI signed a nondisclosure agreement with the vendor. The records also show that the FBI received at least three inquiries from companies interested in developing a product to unlock the phone, but none had the ability to come up with a solution fast enough for the FBI.

The FBI also said in contracting documents that it did not solicit competing bids or proposals because it thought widely disclosing the bureau’s needs could harm national security.

The lawsuit was filed months after the FBI’s sudden announcement in March that it had purchased a tool from an unidentified third party to open Farook’s phone. The disclosure aborted a court fight that began when a federal judge had directed Apple to help the FBI break into the phone.

The suit by the media organizations argued there was no legal basis to withhold the information and challenged the adequacy of the FBI’s search for relevant records. It also said the public had a right to know whether the vendor has adequate security measures, is a proper recipient of government funds and will act only in the public interest.

In refusing to provide the records, the FBI said the records had been compiled for law enforcement purposes and might interfere with ongoing enforcement proceedings, even though at the time the shooters were both dead and there were no indications others were involved.

It was the third lawsuit the AP has filed against the Obama administration under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Comments

One Comment

  1. Greg Gadfly says:

    Corrupt Department of Justice employees have been creating their own terrorists and criminals.

    Corrupt FBI and DEA agents had been using falsified evidence warrants to enter homes of suspects and steal items and punish suspects that complain.

    This and much more has been happening to me over a 20 year period.

    On one such entry into my home, someone poured radiator fluid into an open container of orange juice. I can not leave any partially used container of food or drink items in my home because after leaving for several hours and returning they often have some sort of strange chemical taste.

    Another time someone entered my home and loosened a gas fitting to my furnace. Filled my garage with gas fumes.

    And another time, after my carbon monoxide detectors kept going off, someone had moved the plenum above the gas water heater over not allowing the carbon monoxide to vent out.

    Then my dog was poisoned to death. He suffered terribly. The corrupt agents would taunt me claiming I killed my own dog when I criticized the Department of Justice for stealing from suspects.

    I ruined their lucrative theft ring. I called the San Francisco Attorney General’s office to complain about FBI and DEA agents fabricating evidence and stealing from me.

    FBI and DEA employees have been embezzling money, jewelry, clothing, car parts and other expensive goods from their suspects. Each year they steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from suspects and their relatives who have nothing to do with the supposed crime that their suspects are accused of committing.

    The Department of Justice also uses sleep deprivation and other tortures to make suspects look unstable.

    More, when I would not stop complaining…

    I called the San Francisco Attorney General’s office to complain about agents who were stealing from suspects…stealing from me.
    First, FBI and DEA employees tried to lure me to Mexico.

    We all know Mexico has a problem with corrupt law enforcement. With corruption being as pervasive as it is in Mexico, why would law enforcement employees of Mexican descent in the U.S. be any different?

    Next, when that did not work, I was in San Francisco at the now closed tower records store. In walks three hells angels members wearing the vests, etc… and they were glaring at me.

    Someone else came in the store shortly after they had and told the three if they caused any trouble, their club house in Oakland would be raided. I think the person that entered the store may have been state police who was tailing the three where ever they went. Lucky for me.

    They left without incident.

    The DoJ is filled with incompetent and corrupt losers with a false sense of aristocracy who would be unemployed if it were not for the lax hiring criteria of the US government.

    1. Greg Gadfly says:

      All of my problems with the Department of Justice began 20+ years ago after I filed for a top secret clearance and began working at (Air force global weather central) AFGWC offut AFB in the early mid 90’s.

      I then worked at Strat. Comm. headquarters building, often called building 500 for the DIA.

      Several years later I moved to the Bay Area and began writing software for the NSA. I moved from contract to contract working on software the NSA was interested in using/learning about.

      Corrupt Department of Justice employees were trying their best to sabotage my effort.

      For example at McAfee, I worked on an MX (mail exchange) to filter emails for viruses, well before it was commonplace. Viruses where being discovered at the VPP’s (virginia public power) Nuclear power plant.

      The FBI and DEA are corrupt.

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