March 3, 2016 / by emptywheel


Husband of San Bernardino Victim Agrees: Farook’s Phone Unlikely to Yield Useful Information

Even before the government obtained an All Writs Act ordering Apple to help back door Syed Rezwan Farook’s phone, it had arranged with a former judge to submit a brief on behalf of the victims of the attack, supporting the government’s demand. Yet not all victims agree. The husband of a woman shot three times in the attack, Salihin Kondoker, has submitted his own letter to the court in support of Apple’s stance. In it, he provides support for a point I was among the first to make: that the phone isn’t going to provide much information about the attack, in large part because it was a work phone Farook would have known was being surveilled.

In my opinion it is unlikely there is any valuable information on this phone. This was a work phone. My wife also had an iPhone issued by the County and she did not use it for any personal communication. San Bernardino is one of the largest Counties in the country. They can track the phone on GPS in case they needed to determine where people were. Second, both the iCloud account and carrier account were controlled by the county so they could track any communications. This was common knowledge among my wife and other employees. Why then would someone store vital contacts related to an attack on a phone they knew the county had access to? They destroyed their personal phones after the attack. And I believe they did that for a reason.

It’s a question no one asked Jim Comey earlier this week when he testified before the House Judiciary Committee.

Curiously, Kondoker (who explains he has attended briefings the FBI has held for victims) alludes to information the FBI is currently ignoring.

In the weeks and months since the attack I have been to the FBI briefings that were held for victims and their families. I have joined others in asking many questions about how this happened and why we don’t have more answers. I too have been frustrated there isn’t more information. But I don’t believe that a company is the reason for this.


In the wake of this terrible attack, I believe strongly we need stronger gun laws. It was guns that killed innocent people, not technology. I also believe the FBI had and still has access to a lot of information which they have ignored and I’m very disappointed in the way they’ve handled this investigation.

I’m really curious what that is — and why Jim Comey, who promises he would never ignore a lead, isn’t ensuring it gets chased down?

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