FBI Paid $900,000 to Unlock San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

Senator Diane Feinstein revealed last week that the government spent $900,000 to break into the San Bernardino shooter's locked iPhone last year despite the fact the agency considers how much they paid to be classified information. 

The FBI has also refused to release the name of the vendor who they paid to help unlock the phone. Both pieces of information are being sought by news organizations who have sued the FBI to reveal them.

The top Democrat on the Senate committee overseeing the FBI cited the amount the agency spent during testimony from FBI Director James Comey at an oversight hearing last Wednesday.

"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," Feinstein said. "And as I subsequently learned of some of the reason for it, there were good reasons to get into that device."

The government paid the sum after Apple refused to help the FBI unlock the phone citing privacy concerns. The federal government filed a lawsuit against Apple, but withdrew it once they were able to unlock Syed Rizwan Farook's phone. 

Farook and his wife killed 14 people at the San Bernardino Regional Center in December 2015. 

The Justice Department has refused to say who helped them unlock the phone and how much they paid to do it because they say, if that information was released, 'hostile entities' could develop countermeasures against the exploit and interfere with intelligence gathering. 

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