President Donald Trump ripped into Apple for apparently refusing to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of the gunman behind the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, that killed three U.S. sailors.
In a tweet on Tuesday night, Trump called on the technology company to “step up to the plate” and unlock the shooter’s phone to help the FBI’s investigation.
“We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers, and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”
We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2020
The FBI asked Apple for help unlocking two iPhones on January 8. But on Monday, Barr said that Apple refused to help the agency unlock the phones.
The Washington Post reports that investigators have interviewed hundreds of witnesses and gathered “42 terabytes of data” regarding the shooting, which Barr has described as an act of terrorism.
But because of Apple’s refusal to unlock the phones, investigators have been unable to access more important information regarding the shooter.
However, in a statement to Politico, Apple rejected the claim that it was not assisting in the investigation.
“We reject the characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough, and are ongoing.”
Additionally, Apple told Business Insider that it had provided other data related to the suspect’s account, such as “iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts.”
The FBI and Apple have clashed before over the same issue. After the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, Apple refused to let the FBI access the shooter’s iPhone.