After U.S. gov’t refuses to declassify sum paid for FBI’s San Bernardino iPhone hack, Senator Dianne Feinstein inadvertently reveals it

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees the FBI, said publicly this week that the government paid $900,000 to break into the locked iPhone of a gunman in the San Bernardino, California, shootings, even though the FBI considers the figure to be classified information,” The Associated Press reports. “The FBI also has protected the identity of the vendor it paid to do the work. Both pieces of information are the subject of a federal lawsuit by The Associated Press and other news organizations that have sued to force the FBI to reveal them.”

“California’s Feinstein cited the amount while questioning FBI Director James Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing Wednesday,” AP reports. “‘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.'”

“Feinstein’s spokesman, Tom Mentzer, would neither discuss the senator’s remarks nor say whether she was offering an estimate or disclosing information obtained in an FBI briefing,” AP reports. “The FBI had no immediate comment Friday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Prior, we knew the figure was around $1 million thanks to the feckless Comey. Now we know the exact amount, thanks to the feckless Feinstein.


Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’ – May 12, 2016
FBI’s Comey says agency paid more than $1 million to access San Bernadino iPhone – April 21, 2016
Nothing significant found on San Bernardino’s terrorist’s iPhone – April 14, 2016
Dianne Feinstein’s response to Apple-FBI dispute is bad for privacy, security – April 8, 2016
FBI director confirms hack only works on older iPhones that lack Apple’s Secure Enclave – April 7, 2016
Apple responds to FBI: ‘This case should have never been brought’ – March 29, 2016
California Democrat Diane Feinstein backs U.S. government overreach over Apple – March 10, 2016


  1. MDN- you have pop up ads over content on your iOS app.

    There is no good reason the FBI or anyone else should be classifying such information and doing so is not doing anyone a service.

    There are tremendous costs in money and time to maintaining information as classified, so every time a document is slapped with an unnecessary classification they are wasting public money. During my time in the Army I held various clearances for US and NATO intelligence and handled documents at times of the most politically sensitive nature directly tied to national security during the Cold War, so this is something I have direct knowledge of.

    Governments have some needs of the ability to keep secrets, but the widespread abuse of it makes proper Congressional oversight, citizen oversight, and best practices difficult at best and harms national security in some instances. It also wastes taxpayer money and the valuable time of those who must maintain and archive it.

    If you are interested in efficient, cost effective government you should be concerned with the overclassification of government data. There is no advantage in hiding what the FBI paid for a vendor to provide a service other than keeping the information away from citizen/taxpayer/voters.

    1. We don’t know now, and probably never will know if the $900,000 was wasted,or worth it. Outing the amount paid is a temporary smokescreen to keep people entertained/amused/distracted from the REAL question; What was found on the phone?

      1. My favorite Lindsey Graham quote, from about a year ago:

        “Voting for Donald Trump is sort of like buying a ticket on the Titanic after you have seen the movie.”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.