The FBI is fighting to keep the hack it used to break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters secret.
It’s expected to tell the White House that the crack it used to unlock data on an should not go through a government review that could reveal the method to Apple, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
Apple and the FBI were engaged in a legal standoff for months over the San Bernardino iPhone before the FBI said that it had found a “third-party” that would be able to access data on Syed Farook’s encrypted iPhone. There’s been lots of speculation about who that third party was, but no definitive report.
Now, the FBI is reportedly arguing that because the hack remains the third-party’s intellectual property, and because the FBI never learned details, it doesn’t make sense to submit it to a White House review panel that could publicize details of the security flaw.
“The people we bought this from, I know a fair amount about them, and I have a high degree of confidence that they are very good at protecting it, and their motivations align with ours,” FBI director James Comey said earlier this month. He’s previously implied that the hack cost the government over $1 million.
Apple previously said that it will not sue the government to gain access to the solution. However, Apple expects the flaw the FBI exploited will be patched soon and that it will have a short shelf life.