The FBI Can't Unlock Devin Kelley's Phone

FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs - Screengrab via Reuters
Screengrab via Reuters
FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs
The Federal Bureau of Investigation confiscated Devin Kelley's cellphone after he shot and killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, but they've run into a serious roadblock — they can't unlock the phone.

Special Agent Christopher Combs said in a Tuesday press conference that the phone was flown to Quantico, VA on Monday and that agents haven't been able to get past the phone's complicated encryption barriers. They're hoping the phone will contain information about Kelley's motive to open fire on parishioners at the First Baptist Church.

Combs declined to say what kind of phone Kelley owned, however, the FBI has had trouble accessing encrypted information with Apple in the past.

After the 2016 shooting in San Bernardino, CA, Apple was told by a judge to provide authorities "reasonable technical assistance" in helping them unlock the phone — a request which Apple declined. Many in law enforcement and Congress rebuked this move as it would impede criminal investigations.

"This failure to get encrypted information in a timely manner causes law enforcement to waste even more valuable time and resources," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said just six days ago. “And it could have potentially deadly consequences.”

Apple, however, has promised to continue assisting law enforcement with their investigations, and will continue to beef up product security as the "attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated."


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