Home / Be The Change / Government Corruption / Edward Snowden Exposes the FBI’s Claims About Apple’s iPhone as “Fraudulent Bulls**t”

Edward Snowden Exposes the FBI’s Claims About Apple’s iPhone as “Fraudulent Bulls**t”


NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden called out the FBI’s contentious attempt to force Apple into writing code to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone as a sham.

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’” to, essentially, break into the phone,” Snowden said during Common Cause’s Blueprint for Democracy conference on Tuesday. “Respectfully, that’s bullshit.”

Snowden expanded on his statement on Twitter, saying, “The global technological consensus is against the FBI.” He also referenced a blog post by ACLU technology fellow, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, which calls the FBI’s claim that Apple, alone, must disable the iPhone’s “auto-erase” function, “fraudulent.”

“The truth is that even if this feature is enabled on the device in question,” Gillmor’s post explained, “the FBI doesn’t need to worry about it, because they can already bypass it by backing up part of the phone (called the ‘Effaceable Storage’) before attempting to guess the passcode […]

“[The FBI is] asking the public to grant them significant new powers that could put all of our communications infrastructure at risk, and to trust them to not misuse those powers. But they’re deliberately misleading the public (and the judiciary) to try to gain these powers.”

Gillmor, as well as a number of other technologists, have explained the information backed up on the iCloud would have been easily accessible had agents not reset the password in the early stages of the investigation.

As The Intercept pointed out, security researchers say other options do exist, such as “de-capping” the “phone’s memory chip to access it outside the phone (which Snowden has also mentioned), or resetting the phone’s internal counter” for an unlimited number of password attempts. Though difficult and costly, such methods have been used with success in the past.

Also noteworthy are the methods employed by the FBI and NSA, like Snowden, himself, famously revealed in 2013 — which would seem to indicate at least one of the agencies might already have the information ostensibly sought in the current case.

The NSA has been oddly and markedly absent from the ongoing controversy over the shooter’s iPhone. Though it is possible the secretive agency failed in an attempt to access the phone’s information, it’s highly doubtful. The Intercept noted the NSA’s silence could be due to a more ominous purposeful exclusion, “so the FBI could create a test case.”

One thing seems virtually indisputable in the FBI-Apple dispute — the agency is not being truthful or forthcoming about its true motives. As Gillmor warned,

“This is not how a trustworthy agency operates. We should not be fooled.”

  • Gus Firchow

    Thank you Apple for protecting my privacy!

  • Cal444

    The citizens of the United States should demand to know who in the agency and outside of the FBI concocted this hair ball scheme. Once the culprits are revealed to the public they should be fired for lying, manipulation, strong arm tactics, perjury, and a slew of others misleading the public trust. No pension no benefits. Fired. If we would do this every time our representatives were self indulgent and manipulative beyond their mission we’d have a lot less of this kind of cloak and dagger silliness going on. Our government works for us not themselves, doing harm to the public not protecting us from our own employees and elected officials that have gone off the rails is paramount to treason. Here’s what Twain said ” …no country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more”.
    – The Gilded Age

  • Cal444

    Snowden should have been decorated not villianized. He sacrificed a life long job with no glass ceiling. The benefits and pension were outstanding and he left his girlfriend and family to stick to his convictions. Not only that but he lost his country that he tried to defend. It’s unconscionable that our government would spin his actions into a breach of national security. National security my ass, if our government was not doing covert actions against it’s own citizens it would not get caught, exposed and embarrassed by it’s own actions. Stop playing James Bond games, do your fucking jobs like securing employment for American workers and rebuild American industry. Make the mega corps pay into the system that made them a mega corp to begin with. No more off shore accounts, no more lobbyists in Washiington. He saw abuse within the system that’s suppose to protect Americans from the very agency that’s suppose to do just that and he acted in defense of the people in our country. We need more conscientious people in the system that will do the right thing when they see abuses going on. It’s difficult for people to do the right thing when the system they are in will prosecute and banish them from their life. It’s gotten so far out of whack to re align it will take a house clean revamping from top to bottom.

    • Linda Brown

      When ? All of N. America