Ever since the FBI got inside the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino terrorist shooter, there has been speculation over how much the hacking exercise cost the Feds.
A year later, we finally have an answer — and it’s a whole lot of cash, but maybe less than you thought it would be.
FBI Director James Comey previously revealed that his agency paid “more than I will make in the remainder of this job” to unlock the device after Apple declined to lend a helping hand.
Since Comey’s salary as of January 2015 was $183,300, he stood to make at least $1.34 million over the remainder of his post at the FBI.
However, while questioning Comey last week at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, “I was so struck when San Bernardino happened and you made overtures to allow that device to be opened, and then the FBI had to spend $900,000 to hack it open” — thereby apparently revealing the true (lower than expected) figure.
Feinstein’s spokesman, Tom Mentzer, declined to discuss the remarks, or say whether she was making a guesstimate or offering accurate information.
The FBI continues to protect the identity of the vendor it paid to do the work. This is the subject of a federal lawsuit by The Associated Press and other news organizations, who want the bureau to reveal how these funds got spent.
In the end, the iPhone turned out to contain no new useful information, although Comey called hacking the phone a good investment.