FBI to keep secret how it hacked San Bernardino shooter's iPhone

It turns out even the FBI, which turned to an outside party to unlock the phone, doesn't know the hack works.

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(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

The FBI knows so little about the hack used to unlock an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters that it would be a waste of time to internally review whether or not it should inform Apple to the vulnerability.

That's the argument the agency is set to present the White House with, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

For Apple, the end result is that it will remain in the dark about how federal agents cracked the device's security.

Apple has already said that it will not pursue legal action against the government to learn how the hack was carried out, because it's believed the hack would be "short lived."

FBI director James Comey said in a speech earlier this month that the hack used to unlock the encrypted phone works only on a "narrow slice" of devices.

The tool cost more than $1 million as a one-time fee to break into the phone used by Syed Farook, who in December killed 14 people and injured more than a dozen others. It's thought the agency hired professional hackers who used a previously-undisclosed flaw to allow federal agents access to the device, say a number of reports citing sources.

The FBI was hoping to find evidence that would lead to determining any associates of Farook.