FBI Director Comey: Fight with Apple Is Not about Setting Legal Precedent

FBI Director James Comey
FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director James Comey insisted Wednesday that the case against Apple is not about setting a legal precedent to require tech companies to open encrypted software.

Comey said the case was only about Apple helping unlock a phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists, the USA Today reports.

“You are simply wrong to assert that the FBI and the Justice Department lied about our ability to access the San Bernardino killer’s phone,” Comey wrote in response to a Tuesday Wall Street Journal editorial. “I would have thought that you, as advocates of market forces, would realize the impact of the San Bernardino litigation.”

Comey said the case prompted “creative people around the world to see what they might be able to do” to solve the problem.

“And I’m not embarrassed to admit that all technical creativity does not reside in government,” the director said in a Wednesday letter to the newspaper. “Lots of folks came to us with ideas. It looks like one of those ideas may work and that is a very good thing, because the San Bernardino case was not about trying to send a message or set a precedent; it was and is about fully investigating a terrorist attack.”

The case involving Apple was postponed Wednesday after the FBI said it may have found a way to open the phone without the company’s help.

They are due back in court on April 5.

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