• Mnuchin urged Apple to better cooperate with FBI's investigation into the naval base shooting in Pensacola, Florida
  • His comments echo requests by President Trump and AG Barr for Apple to unlock two iPhones suspected to contain information about the shooting
  • Apple has argued that doing so would open the door for Apple users to have the data exploited and become open to more hackers

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin encouraged Apple and other tech giants Wednesday to improve their relationships with law enforcement to better aid investigations at the state and federal level.

Mnuchin’s comments come as the FBI continues its investigation into the December shooting at the U.S. Naval Station in Pensacola, Florida, by a Saudi Arabia Air Force officer that killed three unarmed people. FBI Investigators have been asking Apple to unlock two iPhones suspected to have information about the shooting.

“I know Apple has cooperated in the past on law enforcement issues, and I expect they would continue ... to cooperate,” Mnuchin told reporters.

Mnuchin’s comments follow a tweet by President Trump on Tuesday criticizing Apple for not aiding the investigation while profiting from the government’s help on trade.

“I understand the president’s view, and it is absolutely critical for our technology companies to cooperate with law enforcement,” Mnuchin said.

Attorney General William Barr also asked for Apple’s help with the investigation during a press conference on Monday.

“Both phones are engineered to make it virtually impossible to unlock them without the password,” Barr said. “It is very important to know with whom and about what the shooter was communicating before he died.”

“We call on Apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of Americans and prevent future attacks.”

Apple has argued that it has been fully cooperating with the FBI’s investigation, providing all the information the company had available and notifying investigators of the second iPhone.

However, the company has also argued accessing the information the FBI wants is not as simple as Barr and the White House has made it seem. Instead, it would have to build a “backdoor” to access the information without the owner’s password and that “backdoors” can easily be exploited.

“We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys,” Apple said in a statement. “Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. Today, law enforcement has access to more data than ever before in history, so Americans do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users' data.”