Washington, DC. Thanks to an elderly American Senator, citizens now know their tax dollars are well spent in America, as the amount spent by FBI agents to break into an iPhone belonging to a terrorist suspect is now known; $900,000.
American Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees the FBI and its spending, said publicly this week that the government paid $900,000 to break into the locked iPhone of a suspected gunman in the San Bernardino, California, shootings.
The FBI considers the figure to be top secret classified information. It also has protected the identity of the vendor it paid to do the work. Both pieces of information are the subject of a federal lawsuit by American news organizations that have sued to force the FBI to reveal them. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment for this story to News Front.
The federal government paid the money as it cut short an extraordinary court fight with Apple Inc., which was resisting a magistrate judge’s order to help the Justice Department hack into the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people in a San Bernardino attack in December 2015.
Senator Feinstein cited the amount accidentaly while questioning FBI Director James Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing Wednesday, revealing the top secret information in public, before news reporters and on video.
“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,” said Feinstein, D-Calif. “And as I subsequently learned of some of the reason for it, there were good reasons to get into that device.”
Comey had hinted at a ballpark range last year, saying the government paid more than he would earn in his remaining seven years on the job, an amount that would have been more than $1 million. He has called the sum “worth it.”