Speed Reads

Apple vs. FBI

FBI director says its iPhone demand is just about trying to 'guess the terrorist's passcode'

FBI Director James Comey released a statement late Sunday arguing that the agency's request for Apple to help it unlock San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook's iPhone is not an attack on privacy. "We don't want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land," Comey says in the statement. "I hope thoughtful people will take the time to understand that."

Rather than a threat to the privacy of all iPhones, Comey says the request is simply the FBI asking for a little help trying to guess Farook's password. "We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly," Comey says. "That's it."

Comey maintains in the statement that this "thorough and professional investigation under law" is owed to the victims of the Dec. 2 attack that left 14 dead at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The Justice Department doubled down on the FBI's request on Friday when it demanded that a federal judge enforce its order to Apple, dismissing the tech company's refusal as a "marketing strategy."