Lawmakers Hammer FBI Chief in Apple Encryption Hearing

Lawmakers repeatedly pressed FBI Director James Comey Tuesday about the implications of an ongoing case in California where federal agents want to gain access to a locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, NBC News reported — one day after a federal judge in New York ruled that the company does not have to help investigators unlock an Apple device in a drug case.

Comey said in response to questions from members of the House Judiciary Committee that whatever the outcome of the California case, it would set a precedent that would be looked at by other courts and law enforcement agencies.

He also acknowledged that the decision supported by the FBI to change the iCloud password on the seized phone soon after the shootings may have created "an issue," complicating efforts to get information off the device.

Comey defended the FBI's request, however, for Apple to create a tool that would allow agents to use computers to guess passcodes on the iPhone until they got one right — something Comey claimed the bureau's computing power could achieve in 26 minutes.

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