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The Feds have revealed the FBI has managed to unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino gunman without Apple’s help, ending a court case.

Apple had been resisting a court order issued last month requiring the company to write new software to allow officials to access Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone.

However, officials have announced on March 28 that it had been accessed independently and asked for the order to be withdrawn.

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife killed 14 in San Bernardino, California, in December.

They were later shot dead by police.

The FBI said it needed access to the phone’s data to determine if the attackers worked with others, were targeting others and were supported by others.FBI v Apple San Bernardino gunman iPhone

According to officials, Syed Rizwan Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, had pledged allegiance to ISIS on social media on the day of the shooting.

Last week, prosecutors said “an outside party” had demonstrated a possible way of unlocking the iPhone without the need to seek Apple’s help.

A court hearing with Apple was postponed at the request of the justice department, while it investigated new ways of accessing the phone.

At the time, Apple said it did not know how to gain access, and said it hoped that the government would share with them any vulnerabilities of the iPhone that might come to light.

On March 28, a statement by Eileen Decker, the top federal prosecutor in California, said investigators had received the help of “a third party”, but did not specify who that was.

Investigators had “a solemn commitment to the victims of the San Bernardino shooting”, Eileen Decker said.

“It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with co-operation from relevant parties, or through the court system when co-operation fails,” the statement added.

Responding to the move, Apple said: “From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.”

Apple said it would “continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated”.

An Israeli newspaper last week reported that data forensics experts at cybersecurity firm Cellebrite, which has its headquarters in Israel, are involved in the case.

Cellebrite website, however, states that one of its tools can extract and decode data from the iPhone 5C, the model in question, among other locked handsets.

The court order had led to a vigorous debate over privacy, with Apple receiving support from other tech giants including Google, Microsoft, and Facebook.

FBI director James Comey said it was the “hardest question” he had tackled in his job.

However, James Comey said, law enforcement saved lives, rescued children and prevented terror attacks using search warrants that gave it access to information on mobile phones.


More details have emerged about San Bernardino attackers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

They began their relationship online and then met at the 2013 Hajj pilgrimage, according to a visa application.

According to Syed Farook’s fiancée visa application, he and Tashfeen Malik made contact on a website, emailed and then decided to meet.

Their parents met in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during the annual pilgrimage.

Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik got engaged the day their parents met and planned to marry within a month of Malik arriving in the US.

Photo AP

Photo AP

The US House Judiciary Committee has released visa documents, detailing Tashfeen Malik’s processing into the US, after some lawmakers criticized the progress.

Authorities say the two opened fire at a work luncheon for Syed Farook’s colleagues in the San Bernardino public health department on December 2, killing 14 people.

Hours later, police tracked the couple to their home, and they died in a shootout. The mass shooting was the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since 9/11.

Tashfeen Malik’s file has copies of her Saudi passport stamps and visas, along with a statement from Syed Farook detailing how they met and when they planned to marry.

Her visa issuance is still the subject of investigation. She was born in Pakistan but grew up in Saudi Arabia, returning to Pakistan to pursue a pharmacy degree at Bahauddin Zakariya University.

Tashfeen Malik, 29, pledged allegiance to ISIS on the day of the shooting.

Syed Farook, 28, had worked for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for five years and the couple had just had a baby. They left the child with its grandmother the day of the shooting.

He prayed daily at the Islamic Center of Riverside, California, but no one seemed to think he had extremist views.

Tashfeen Malik’s admission to the US has sparked debate among US lawmakers about immigration and visa processes.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said immigration officials did not “thoroughly vet” Tashfeen Malik’s application.

He said the application did not show sufficient evidence the two had met in person, and that more evidence had been requested, but it was not provided and she still had her visa approved.

The State Department has said that “all required procedures were followed in the K-1 visa case for Ms Malik”.


Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who were behind the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 people last week, had target practice days before, the FBI has said.

Tashfeen Malik and husband Syed Farook visited ranges in the Los Angeles area, said David Bowdich, assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

David Bowdich said both were radicalized and had been “for some time”.

The US is investigating last week’s attack, which happened at a health care centre, as an act of terrorism.

However, David Bowdich said there is no evidence yet that last week’s tragedy, the most deadly terror attack in the US since 9/11, was plotted from overseas.

The FBI did not have an investigation open on restaurant inspector Syed Farook before he and his wife opened fire on his colleagues at a work event at the Inland Regional Center.San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik

They were both killed hours later in a shoot-out with police.

Investigators said they found 19 pipes that could have been turned into bombs at the couple’s apartment, rather than the 12 previously reported.

A photo obtained by ABC News shows the couple arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from Saudi Arabia in July 2014.

According to US officials, Syed Farook traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned about two weeks later with Tashfeen Malik, who was able to come to the country on a fiancé visa.

Syed Farook’s father told Italian newspaper La Stampa his son sympathized with ISIS and was fixated with Israel.

The family’s lawyer said he had recently told them co-workers had mocked his beard, and that the family knew he had two handguns and two rifles.

But they did not know about the arsenal of weapons the couple had amassed.

Tashfeen Malik reportedly praised ISIS on Facebook on the day of the attacks.

The Department of Justice said on December 7 it is monitoring any anti-Muslim sentiments or attacks that may emerge in the wake of the mass shooting.


President Barack Obama has delivered a rare Oval Office address after the last week’s San Bernardino attack that left 14 dead.

Barack Obama said the killings were “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people”.

“Freedom is more powerful than fear,” the president said, warning that falling prey to divisiveness in American society would play into the hands of extremists.

Barack Obama also said the US must make it harder for potential attackers to obtain guns.

The president vowed that the US would overcome the evolving threat of terrorism, but warned that Americans “cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam”.Barack Obama Oval Office address December 2015

“If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate,” Barack Obama said.

He reminded his audience that Muslim-Americans were part of US society.

“And, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that,” he said.

Barack Obama warned that turning against America’s Muslim communities would be exactly what Islamist extremists in the so-called Islamic State group want.

The president told Americans that terrorism had entered a new phase, from large scale attacks by al-Qaeda to less complicated attacks by radicalized individuals.

He said the US would draw upon “every aspect of American power” to combat ISIS.

Barack Obama underscored that the US and its allies have increased their bombing of Islamic State oil infrastructure and would continue to train and equip moderate rebels in Iraq and Syria.

“Our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary,” he said.

Barack Obama added that there are a number of things that can be done on home soil to combat terrorism.

He called for stricter gun control and said he had ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the K-1 fiancé visa program under which the female attacker in San Bernardino originally entered the US.

This was only the third Oval Office address of Barack Obama’s presidency – they are reserved for events of national importance.

Barack Obama’s speech was in response to a mass shooting by a married couple that left 14 dead.

Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 29, opened fire on an office Christmas party and were later killed in a shootout with police.

In his speech, the president characterized ISIS as “thugs and killers”, adding: “The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it.”

The group said in a radio broadcast that the couple that Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were ISIS supporters, but gave no indication that ISIS was involved in the attack’s planning.

The FBI is also looking into reports Tashfeen Malik posted a message on Facebook pledging allegiance to ISIS around the time of the attacks.

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik used handguns and semi-automatic weapons that had been legally purchased in the US, police say.

Bomb equipment, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition were later found in their home.

The San Bernardino attack is the deadliest mass shooting in the US since 26 people were killed at a school in Connecticut in 2012.

The authorities said there was no indication so far the killers were part of an “organized group or formed part of a broader terrorist cell”.