On Monday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr told reporters that Apple needs to help investigators access Apple phones that were used by the Saudi soldier who killed three Americans in December at Pensacola Naval base.
“This was an act of terrorism. The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by Jihadist ideology.” Barr said, explaining that acquiring the information was necessary to help prevent future attacks. He said, “It is very important to know with whom and about what the shooter was communicating before he died. We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks.”
According to The New York Times, “Officials said that the F.B.I. was still trying to gain access to the phones on its own and approached Apple only after asking other government agencies, foreign governments and third-party technology vendors for help, to no avail.”
The federal government has asked Apple’s help in accessing their phones before. After the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 Americans, the federal government sued Apple to gain access to the phones used in the attack. In the end, investigators were able to access the phones without the help of Apple.