In his first public address on trying to get Apple to cooperate with them, FBI Director James Comey said the agency owed the victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attack a “thorough and professional investigation.”
“The American people should expect nothing less from the FBI,” he wrote in an op-ed published late Sunday on the Lawfare website.
Comey took the opportunity to explain why it’s important to access information on the cellphone that belonged to one of the Islamic extremist shooters.
“Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t,” the director said. “But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has refused to create a “back door” to the iPhone, and said the company would fight a federal magistrate’s order to help the FBI gain access to the device.
“This case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation,” Cook wrote in an email early Monday to Apple employees, according to Fox News. “So when we received the government’s order we knew we had to speak out.”
“At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties,” he added.
Appealing to “thoughtful people,” Comey put forth a counter to that narrative.
“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly,” he wrote. “That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”
And the debate rages on … and could ultimately end up being decided by the Supreme Court.
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