San Bernardino police chief: 'good chance' there's nothing of value on that iPhone

iPhone 5C

The chief of police for San Bernardino is speaking out on the locked iPhone linked to the terrorist attack in his city, and what he revealed may surprise some.

Chief Jarrod Burguan, who is involved with the investigation into the mass shooting, said in an interview with NPR that there may not be any useful information on the iPhone 5C used by one of the attackers.

"I'll be honest with you, I think that there is a reasonably good chance that there is nothing of any value on the phone," Burguan said.

However, despite this view, he said it's still important to check the phone's data, adding "maybe there was some information on there that would lead to a larger plot or larger network."

"This is an effort to leave no stone unturned in the investigation," he explained further. "To allow this phone to sit there, and not make an effort to get the information or the data that may be inside of that phone is simply not fair to the victims or the families."

Another layer

Burguan's comments come as the fight between Apple and the US government intensifies in the courts and in the arena of public opinion.

On Thursday, Apple filed a motion to have an FBI court order demanding it create a special software to unlock the iPhone thrown out. It comes after a Department of Justice motion last week seeking to force Apple to comply with the FBI's demands.

Apple contends the security of "hundreds of millions of individuals around the globe" would be in jeopardy if it created the tool and that it would set a troubling precedent. The FBI and DOJ counter that the software is only for one phone and could be destroyed after it's used.

Burguan's statement that there's a chance the iPhone holds nothing of value aligns with previous Apple assertions that the FBI hasn't shown it knows the device holds anything worthwhile. But he also clearly sides with the agency in wanting to gather as much information as possible.

Representatives from Apple and the FBI are set to testify before a Congressional hearing on encryption next week.