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Feds unlock iPhones of terror suspect who murdered three U.S. sailors in Florida terror shooting at naval base; “No thanks to Apple” William Barr says


This news story was published on May 22, 2020.
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Barr

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General William P. Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced this week significant developments in the FBI’s investigation of the December 6, 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans. On January 13, 2020, Attorney General Barr announced that the shooting was an act of terrorism and publicly asked Apple to help the FBI access the locked contents of two iPhones belonging to the deceased terrorist Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. The company declined to do so.

Attorney General Barr announced that the FBI recently succeeded in unlocking the phones of Alshamrani, who had attempted to destroy them while launching his attack. The phones contained important, previously-unknown information that definitively established Alshamrani’s significant ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), not only before the attack, but before he even arrived in the United States. The FBI now has a clearer understanding of Alshamrani’s associations and activities in the years, months, and days leading up to the attack.

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

“Thanks to the great work of the FBI – and no thanks to Apple – we were able to unlock Alshamrani’s phones,” said Attorney General Barr. “The trove of information found on these phones has proven to be invaluable to this ongoing investigation and critical to the security of the American people. However, if not for our FBI’s ingenuity, some luck, and hours upon hours of time and resources, this information would have remained undiscovered. The bottom line: our national security cannot remain in the hands of big corporations who put dollars over lawful access and public safety. The time has come for a legislative solution.”

“I could not be prouder of the relentless dedication of the men and women at the FBI who worked for months under difficult conditions to access these devices,” said Director Wray. “Their skill and persistence, and the sustained investigative efforts by FBI Jacksonville, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, and our many other federal, state, and local partners, have been nothing short of extraordinary in this case. As we continue to seek answers around the December 6th terrorist attack that killed three American service members and wounded others, I want their families, and all Americans, to know that protecting the United States from those who seek to do us harm remains the FBI’s foremost priority. Our work against the threat of terrorism never rests.”

Investigators sought and received court authorization to search the contents of Alshamrani’s iPhones within one day of the December 6, 2019 terrorist attack. Unable to unlock the phones because of their security features, and having exhausted all readily available options, the FBI approached Apple for its assistance in early January 2020. The company declined to assist. FBI technical experts succeeded in accessing the phones’ contents over four months after the attack, revealing highly-significant evidence, including:

Alshamrani and his AQAP associates communicated using end-to-end encrypted apps, with warrant-proof encryption, deliberately in order to evade law enforcement.
Alshamrani’s preparations for terror began years ago. He had been radicalized by 2015, and having connected and associated with AQAP operatives, joined the Royal Saudi Air Force in order to carry out a “special operation.”

In the months before the December 6, 2019 attack, while in the United States, Alshamrani had specific conversations with overseas AQAP associates about plans and tactics. In fact, he was communicating with AQAP right up until the attack, and conferred with his associates until the night before he undertook the murders.

The evidence derived from Alshamrani’s unlocked phones has already proven useful in protecting the American people. In particular, a counterterrorism operation targeting AQAP operative Abdullah al-Maliki, one of Alshamrani’s overseas associates, was recently conducted in Yemen.

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5 Responses to Feds unlock iPhones of terror suspect who murdered three U.S. sailors in Florida terror shooting at naval base; “No thanks to Apple” William Barr says

  1. Avatar

    John Appleseed Reply Report comment

    May 23, 2020 at 8:11 am

    The education level of your typical class of individuals who tread on others is minor in it’s understanding of the laws of God. Otherwise known as right and wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Ain’t that right Billy Bar.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 22, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    I find it funny that Barr says we can’t let big companies rule our country…. isn’t that what conservatives want? They give tax breaks to big companies and billionaires. The rich run this country, the top 1% and they don’t give a shit about taxpayers.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 22, 2020 at 10:36 am

    “The bottom line: our national security cannot remain in the hands of big corporations who put dollars over lawful access and public safety. The time has come for a legislative solution.”
    Those words should chill people to the bone. If Congress were to pass something like this, it would fly right in the face of the Fourth Amendment which bars the government from unreasonable search and seizure of an individual or their private property.
    It wouldn’t take long for,” Oh you were speeding, we’re checking through your phone for anything else you might have possibly have ever done.
    For those of you who don’t/won’t believe, the Patriot Act is a good example.
    “The Patriot Act was the first of many changes to surveillance laws that made it easier for the government to spy on ordinary Americans by expanding the authority to monitor phone and email communications, collect bank and credit reporting records, and track the activity of innocent Americans on the Internet. While most Americans think it was created to catch terrorists, the Patriot Act actually turns regular citizens into suspects.” https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance/surveillance-under-patriot-act
    What about the “secret” searches? “The Patriot Act allows federal law enforcement to delay giving notice when they conduct secret searches of Americans’ homes and offices. A fundamental change to Fourth Amendment privacy protections and search warrants. This means the government agents can enter a house,apartment,or office with a search warrant while the occupant is away, search through their property and take photographs- in some cases seizing property and electronic communications- and not telling the owner till later.” https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance/surveillance-under-patriot-act

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 22, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Apple needs to be broken down and split up.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      Why, because you don’t agree with their decisions?
      They don’t have a monopoly like Bell Telephone did back in the 70’s, so, why?