FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that one of two terrorists who tried to kill people outside a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, in May sent 109 messages to a terrorist overseas the day of the attack, and the FBI has no idea what was said, because those messages were encrypted.
“In May, when two terrorists attempted to kill a whole lot of people in Garland, Texas, and were stopped by law enforcement, again, that morning before one of those terrorists left to commit mass murder, he exchanged 109 messages with an overseas terrorist,” Comey said.
ISIS sent two gunmen – Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi – to launch a terrorist attack at an anti-Muslim event on May 3, wounding a security guard before police shot them, the Associated Press reported. A third man – Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem – was arrested and charged with helping to orchestrate the attack. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.
“We have no idea what he said,” Comey said about one of the gunmen, “because those messages were encrypted, and to this day, I can’t tell you what he said with that terrorist 109 times the morning of that attack. That is a big problem. We have to grapple with it,” Comey said.
During his opening statement before the committee, Comey said both tech companies and the FBI care about safety on the Internet. They understand that “encryption is a very important part of being secure on Internet,” he said. “We also all care about public safety. We also all see a collision between those things right now.” (Read more from “FBI Director: Terrorist in Texas Attack Sent 109 Encrypted Messages on Morning of Attack to Terrorist Overseas” HERE)