WASHINGTON – A programming error led the FBI to vastly overstate the sheer number of phones that investigators couldn’t access as a consequence of encryption, officials said Wednesday.

Director Chris Wray has repeatedly said in speeches that nearly 7,800 smart phones seized during investigations couldn’t be opened because of digital encryption in fiscal year 2017.

But officials said they’ve determined that time is incorrect and also a reaction to “significant over-counting” from three separate databases that this bureau uses.

 
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