San Bernardino’s top cop admits terrorist’s iPhone may be a dead end


Getting into the San Bernardino iPhone may be pointless.
Photo: Apple

Apple and the FBI are locked in a bitter legal battle over San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone 5c that was recovered at the terrorist event, but according to San Bernardino’s chief of police we’re all overlooking one very important issue: there might not be any useable intelligence on it.

San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan, who was part of the investigation last December, sat down for an interview with NPR and said the iPhone could be worthless.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think that there is a reasonably good chance that there is nothing of any value on the phone,” Burguan said.

That doesn’t mean Burguan is taking Apple’s side in the battle between public safety through encryption and law enforcement’s mission to stop terrorism. San Bernardino’s top cop says that he think Apple should be forced to unlock the iPhone for the FBI just in case it does contain vital information about terrorist cells and other plots.

“This is an effort to leave no stone unturned in the investigation,” Burguan told NPR. “To allow this phone to sit there, and not make an effort to get the information or the data that may be inside of that phone is simply not fair to the victims or the families.”

Many on Twitter have pointed out that it’s highly unlikely that Farook’s iPhone, which was issued and monitored by San Bernardino County, was used to plot his terrorist activities. Farook also had a personal iPhone that was destroyed and likely contained the information the FBI is hoping for.

In a motioned filed on Thursday, Apple requested that the FBI’s demands be dropped. Apple and the FBI will take their battle to Congress next week at hearing that will see Apple’s top lawyer Bruce Sewell face off against FBI Director James Comey.