It is unclear why Farook would destroy his personal phone but not his work phone if the work phone had sensitive data. They were already destroying two devices, why not three? They were executing some sort of “going dark” plan. It seems entirely possible that they didn’t see the need to destroy a device that was never used for anything sensitive.
Source: Feeble Noise Pollution — Medium
As usual, @thegrugq is spot on in his analysis.
It seems clear is that the phone itself could easily have nothing of value on it, especially given the fact that he let it survive after destroying the others.
But the phone does have value as a lever. It seems the FBI believes it can be used as the illustrative example for why they need the ability to compel companies to either 1) give them the data, or 2) allow them to get it themselves by reducing security controls.
Apple was exactly correct in saying this case wasn’t about this case, but rather about precedent. If they get a win here, they’ll forever be able to say:
This situation is as bad, or worse, than the San Bernadino case, therefore…
That’s the power of precedent.
So there’s every chance that there will be nothing on the phone even if they get the data. But that won’t matter because the data was just a diversion.
They want access going forward, for any phone where they can make a tie to security. And if they find nothing on this one it will soon be forgotten, but the precedent will remain.