After months of trying, the FBI successfully broke into iPhones belonging to the gunman responsible for a deadly shooting at Pensacola Naval Air Station in December 2019, and it now claims he had associations with terrorist organization al-Qaeda. Investigators managed to do so without Apple’s help, but Attorney General William Barr and FBI director Christopher Wray both voiced strong frustration with the iPhone maker at a press conference on Monday morning.
Both officials say that encryption on the gunman’s devices severely hampered the investigation. “Thanks to the great work of the FBI — and no thanks to Apple — we were able to unlock Alshamrani’s phones,” said Barr, who lamented the months and “large sums of tax-payer dollars” it took to get into devices of Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who killed three US sailors and injured eight other people on December 6th.
Apple has said it provided investigators with iCloud data it had available for Alshamrani’s account but did not provide any assistance bypassing iOS’s device encryption. Without that help, authorities spent many weeks trying to break in on their own.