FBI Director: 'A Mistake Was Made' in Handling San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a hearing on "The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy" on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 1. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

FBI Director James Comey admitted that "a mistake was made" in handling the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook when his password was changed on his Apple ID the day after the shooting.

Comey was in attendance to testify on behalf of the FBI in front of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. The FBI tried to compel Apple to cooperate in opening the iPhone with a court order, but Apple CEO Tim Cook refused, stirring an international debate on the issue of privacy versus national security.

Comey told the committee that the FBI asked San Bernardino county officials to change password on iCloud backup for shooter's phone, confirming the Justice Department's acknowledgment on February 19 that the password reset had "the effect of eliminating the possibility of an auto-backup."

But Comey asserted that this conversation on encryption would have made its way to Congress nonetheless.

The hearing is in recess, and Newsweek will have more updates from the hearing when it resumes.