CNN today reports that while the FBI did not find anything new on the San Bernardino iPhone 5c that it unlocked without Apple’s help, it has “produced data the FBI didn’t have before.” Essentially, not finding anything new on the device is what the FBI needed to know in order to answer some of its remaining questions regarding the case.
Because of data on the iPhone 5c – or lack thereof – the FBI is now confident that terrorist Syed Farook did not make contact with any other plotters. Specifically, the FBI was concerned about an 18-minute gap that it had yet to fill in regarding Farook’s location after the attacks. Now, having gained access to the iPhone, the FBI is more confident that Farook and his wife acted alone in their actions.
Investigators are now more confident that terrorist Syed Farook didn’t make contact with another plotter during an 18-minute gap that the FBI said was missing from their time line of the attackers’ whereabouts after the mass shooting, the officials said. The phone has helped investigators address lingering concern that the two may have help, perhaps from friends and family, the officials said.
On the iPhone, the FBI did not find any evidence of contacts with other ISIS supports or members by Farook, nor did they find the use of any encrypted communicants during that 18-minute window. According to the report, the FBI views this as “valuable to the probe.”
However, because it didn’t find any “new” information on the iPhone 5c, the FBI is still left to figure out what exactly Farook was doing during that 18-minute gap, but the bureau is said to be following more leads and analyzing more data.
Earlier this month it was reported that the FBI had found nothing of “real significance” on the iPhone 5c used by Farook, which many insiders expected to be the case. Nevertheless, it appears that the FBI doesn’t regret going after Apple in an effort to gain access to the device as it was able to rule out suspicions that Farook was in communications with others after the attack.
Earlier today, the FBI and Apple once again appeared before Congress to discuss encryption. You can watch that video here.