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FBI to stay mum on iPhone-hacking method

After tapping a third party to hack into a terrorist's iPhone, the agency says it doesn't know enough about the hack to submit it for governmental review.

James Martin/CNET

The FBI is maintaining its silence about a hack that gave it access to data on a terrorist's iPhone.

As expected, the agency released a statement Wednesday arguing that it doesn't know enough about the hacking method to submit it for an Obama administration review. The bureau worked with a third party to hack into the device. The review, known as the Vulnerabilities Equities Process, would determine whether the method should be shared with Apple and the public.

"The FBI assesses that it cannot submit the method to the VEP," an FBI spokeswoman said in a statement. "We do not have enough technical information about any vulnerability that would permit any meaningful review."

The FBI spent over $1.3 million to unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, and reportedly found nothing important inside. Apple, which took a high-profile stand against an FBI demand that it hack into the device, wants to know if there's a security weakness it could fix.

You can find CNET's ongoing coverage of Apple vs. the FBI here.