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Apple Responds To Barr’s Criticisms, ‘Rejects’ Suggestion That It’s Not Helping DOJ With Gunman’s iPhones

Apple is rejecting Attorney General William Barr’s assertion that the company has been unwilling to provide much assistance to the Justice Department’s effort to collect data from the Pensacola gunman’s iPhones.

“We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation,” Apple noted in a lengthy statement Monday night to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The company’s statement came shortly after Barr suggested in a press conference Monday that Apple has not provided “substantive assistance” as investigators searched for materials from Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani’s iCloud account.

Alshamrani is a Saudi who killed three sailors during a Dec. 6, 2019, shooting in Pensacola, Florida.

Justice Department officials said they need access to Alshamrani’s phones to see messages from encrypted apps, noting also that such intelligence might help them determine if Alshamrani was planning attacks with other people.

“Within hours of the FBI’s first request on December 6th, we produced a wide variety of information associated with the investigation. From December 7th through the 14th, we received six additional legal requests and in response provided information including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts,” the statement added.

Apple said it only learned of a second iPhone after the FBI asked the company on Jan. 6 for additional assistance. “It was not until January 8th that we received a subpoena for information related to the second iPhone, which we responded to within hours.

Early outreach is critical to accessing information and finding additional options,” the statement reads.

Apple has a history of going toe-to-toe with the DOJ on privacy issues. The company defied a court order to help law enforcement search the device of a gunman who shot and killed 14 people in a terrorism attack in California in 2015.

The FBI eventually found another company to bypass the iPhone’s encryption, a move that ultimately helped agents piece together the shooter’s motives. Alshamrani, for his part, tried to destroy his iPhones before opening fire at U.S. Air Force bases in Florida.

DOJ has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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