In the recent months following the San Bernardino terrorist attack investigation, the FBI engaged in a tight lawsuit with Apple. Eventually the lawsuit came to an end when the FBI decided to pay an undisclosed fee with a third party to unlock alleged terrorist Syed Farook's iPhone.
The results of the bypass hacked phone revealed some appalling results. The FBI reported a few weeks earlier that they had found nothing significant in Syed Farook's iPhone, but what FBI Director James Comey hinted at the Aspen Security Forum in London was unspeakable.
Comey was hit with the most concerning question of the operation. How much did it cost?
"More than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure," said Comey.
To understand where that number might stand, public records indicate that Comey earned $183,000 last year. He is expected to make an additional $1.34 million for the remainder of his position. Putting those two records together allows us to estimate that the FBI paid a third party hacker over $1.3 million to unlock an iPhone, only to discover nothing useful.
Comey reassured the public that this hack only works for the iPhone 5C and not on later versions of iPhone such as the 5S, 6 and 6S. He has an immense responsibility to maintain, as he is put in a position to strengthen the nation's defense during times of distress from unexpected violence. Even though he is a "huge fan of strong encryption," we should put into heavy consideration the immense weight of responsibility on his shoulders and place an optimistic outlook towards progress of a safer national defense.