Liberty Safe Gave FBI Access To J6 Defendant’s Personal Safe

Liberty Safe Gave FBI Access To J6 Defendant’s Personal Safe

Liberty Safe Gave FBI Access To J6 Defendant’s Personal Safe

UPDATED: Oh yes, you read that headline correctly. Liberty Safe handed over a backdoor code to the FBI so they could break into a J6 defendant’s personal safe on August 30, 2023. They only got caught when the arrest and information concerning the arrest of Nathan Hughes was tweeted/X’d out just the other day.

An account of the FBI raid of Hughes’ home was shared by the Hodgetwins, who said that “Last week, a friend of ours was raided by the feds over J6, his name is Nathan Hughes and he’s from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Nate was raided by the FBI and arrested at gun point. His girlfriend (who just had a miscarriage) was held at gun point and put in handcuffs. The FBI turned off his security cameras, unplugged his internet, and flipped his house upside down in a search. The feds called the manufacturer of his Liberty Gun Safe and got the passcode to get into it too. All for protesting at the Capitol over 2 1/2 years ago.”

And, once it became public knowledge, Liberty Safe issued a statement in hopes of covering their ass. 

Read that statement again.

On August 30, 2023, Liberty Safe was contacted by the FBI requesting the access code to the safe of an individual for whom they had a warrant to search their property. Our company protocol is to provide access codes to law enforcement if a warrant grants them access to a property. After receiving the request, we received proof of the valid warrant, and only then did we provide them with an access code. Liberty Safe had no knowledge of any of the details surrounding the investigation at the time.

Liberty Safe is devoted to protecting the personal property and 2nd amendment rights of our customers and has repeatedly denied requests for access codes without a warrant in the past. We do not give out combinations without proper legal documentation being provided by authorities.

We regularly update our policies to ensure both compliance with federal and state law and reasonable consumer privacy protections within the law. First and foremost, Liberty Safe is committed to preserving our customers’ rights, and we will remain unwavering in those values.

The company claims to know nothing about the case, but acquiesced when the FBI showed up with a valid warrant. Oh, ok FBI, you have a warrant? GREAT! Here’s the backdoor code. Happy hunting! 

Liberty Safe advertises itself as “America’s #1 heavy-duty home and gun safe manufacturer.” They claim that more than two million homeowners “have found the peace of mind” by storing their valuables and weapons in a Liberty Safe in their homes. They tout their “98% customer satisfaction rating.”

Yet when it comes to giving access to that safe to law enforcement, Liberty Safe is right on board. Customers will find that in the event they are served with a search warrant for their home, Liberty Safe will aid law enforcement in getting that safe open. This also means that they have access to the codes that open their customers’ safes.

Understandably, the company is getting ratio’d into oblivion across social media. 

There’s so SO MUCH wrong with this scenario. First there’s the fact that the Biden Administration is still going after people concerning January 6, and the courts are handing down excessive sentences while anyone who rioted in 2020 and beyond for Black Lives Matter and other crap gets to walk away scot free. 

But the BIGGEST issue I have with this involves a person’s private property rights. Liberty Safe, once it was sold to Nathan Hughes via a distributor or directly, no longer OWNED that safe. It was no longer their property. Therefore, backdoor code or not, Liberty Safe shouldn’t have been involved in this. They overstepped and the FBI for damned sure overstepped their bounds. 

The FBI should’ve just had someone come in and break open the safe. But here’s another point to consider as to why Liberty totally screwed the pooch here. As I noted above, Liberty no longer owned that safe. Someone else did. Therefore…

Liberty Safe is under no legal obligation to comply with a search warrant served to one of their customers. Liberty Safe was not subjected to a search warrant, per their post, they were shown a search warrant for another individual and decided to help the FBI conduct that search by providing information that would aid the search.

There is absolutely no reason they should comply at all. In the event that an individual is served with a search warrant for their home or property, that warrant is entirely between law enforcement and that individual. 

The company stepped in it big time. And the implications for their actions when it concerns an individual’s private property is enormous. 

Liberty Safe claims that they are advocates of the Second Amendment and protecting private property rights. Their recent actions indicate otherwise. 

UPDATE: THIS is how you do it. 

Liberty is going to learn their lesson the hard way. 

UPDATE 2: Liberty Safe issued a new statement at midnight last night. Customers can now opt out and Liberty will only comply with the feds if a subpoena is involved. 

So, they’ve done this before based upon CUSTOMER requests. Except this instance wasn’t a customer request. It was the FBI waiving a search warrant around after the customer, Nathan Hughes, likely refused to provide the safe combination. Liberty is still in the wrong here, and they know it. But they hope this new statement will save their bacon. 

Feature Photo Credit: Liberty Safe ad on Facebook, cropped and modified

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  • Robin H says:

    Liberty Safe is going to get Bud Lighted right out of business. Once again the company forgot who it’s customers are.

    • GWB says:

      Maybe they can get Dylan to do a spot for them and boost their sales?
      (Maybe if they locked him inside one, then dumped it in the bayou. But nothing less.)

  • GWB says:

    First, this is ONE reason I refuse to buy a digital safe, AT ALL. Just no. What’s wrong with the kind that protected banks and all of my Secret and Top Secret documents for decades? (Yes, I protested when they went to digital locks on security cabinets. That was STOOPID, IMO. Especially when there was the likelihood of EMPs….)

    Second, I concur wholeheartedly on condemning the idea they have a back door. If you want a back door, it should require the battery to have run out, be unique to each safe, and it should be published in a manual for the safe which is sent with the safe, and NOT retained by the company. Otherwise, some Liberty Safe guy (or anyone with knowledge of the back door) could just go around robbing people with that brand safe. (Did these people never watch westerns? There is ALWAYS someone on the inside who knows the combination, or there’s a standard combo it comes with. Unless they’re just going to blow the safe open and scatter the contents across the desert.)

    Third, also concur wholeheartedly that the safe is no longer theirs and a warrant has no effect on them, unless it is served directly TO them.

    They shot themselves in the foot with this. A lot of people won’t be able to afford to buy another safe. (But with some judicious lawsuiting they might be able to buy two or three afterward.) But they will certainly be looking to do so. And they will try and eliminate any backdoors, now, too. Dumb, dumb, DUMB.

    (And, thank you, Nina, for providing more information and analysis than I had based on the story I initially read.)

  • Cameron says:

    The public relations team is going to be drinking hard over this.

  • Ed says:

    Or the fbi could have drilled the safe and essentially destroyed it. It’s was just easier to get a code.

  • SFC D says:

    Might be a very good idea to divest yourself from any stock in this company.

  • John in Indy says:

    Dial lock gun safe makers keep records of the combos to their safes by model and serial number. A locksmith told me that he always gets the combo from the company when called to open a safe where the combo has been lost, and hasn’t manipulated a safe open in many years.

    See if your gun safe can accept a replacement dial lockset like the Sergeant and Greenleaf unit available on Amazon for $120. The combo can be set / reset by the owner in minutes.

  • Carol Marks says:

    Oh well. Shouldn’t have been in Washington protesting on J6 with all this MAGA white supremacists domestic terrorists, right? That’s what some would say, even on the right. I hope you get my sarcasm.

    • GWB says:

      And so many of these people are the same ones that say “I’m not doing anything wrong. Why should I care if the government reads all my emails?”

      They think, in their self-righteousness that they will be immune to any abuses of power. Or, stupidly, that there never will be any.

      May your chains rest lightly, etc.

  • Liz says:

    Attorney Shipwreckedcrew offers some information I found helpful.
    Since other might too, thought I’d share:

    He states that the Gov. reimburses for destruction of property during execution of a search warrant. If the FBI cracks your safe, they pay you for it. They only have PC there if evidence in there — you’re not guilty of anything. And the evidence they are looking for might not have anything to do with the safe’s owner.
    (he thinks Liberty safe did not no this, encountering a novel situation. I don’t know if that is true, but I found this information interesting)

  • Cameron says:

    Meanwhile, Rhino Ironworks has announced that they will not release backup codes or combinations to anyone but the owner unless they have a specific court order demanding they comply with a specific case.

    In other words, they are taking full advantage of what happened to Liberty Safes and are probably preparing to get new customers.

  • GWB says:

    Liberty is still in the wrong here, and they know it.
    No, Nina, they were in the wrong here. Going forward they have settled on a much more rights-based policy and are (evidently) going to do it right from here on out. This is not like the “Oh hey, let’s play some old style commercials” that Bud Light pulled. This is a reasoned approach that actually goes directly to the concerns of customers.

    I’m actually impressed. This isn’t a “Please don’t yell at us anymore” response. This is a “We didn’t handle this stuff properly before and we’re fixing that.”

    • Cameron says:

      I am surprised that they answered the complaints the way they did. But there is going to be a lot of bad blood over this. How much can we trust them to have done the right thing and deleted the information?

  • GWB says:

    And, of course, all of this still comes back to – why is there a back door combo? Because people are dummies and want an answer that does not include “Have that guy bring his torch over and open ‘er up.”** The authorities are merely exploiting that human tendency.

    One thing you should always do with any lock (except maybe Master combo locks for your locker) is change the combo. You should also do this with keyed door locks – the moment you buy your house, change the locks or re-key them. If you have a rental and you move someone out – immediately re-key the locks.

    Also, a good reason not to use DIGITAL locks on anything.

    (** I had to open a drawer safe the hard way in Bosnia, because one crew lost the combo and took to a policy of “just don’t latch the door.” [Yes, a very stupid policy for a container for classified. Yeesh.] Well, it got latched when we had to transport it to a new base camp. The one safe guy dulled TWO chisels/pry bars trying to get into it. They had to get the guy with the acetylene torch in the vehicle area to open it. It was a mess.)

    • Liz says:

      We don’t have digital locks, but I’m pretty sure there is a backdoor combo on all our gun safes.
      Which we use for a lot of things in addition to firearms.
      I’m kind of glad they have this feature because having had some deaths in the family recently, getting into a locked safe can be difficult. Even if we’ve shown the kids the combo you never know if they will remember it.

      • GWB says:

        You’re better off writing down the combination and storing it somewhere secure.
        That’s how we handled safe combos in the military – this safe combo goes in that drawer of that safe, and that combo goes in this drawer of this safe. You could include it in your will as a sealed matter, or put it in a safe deposit box, or encrypt it into a picture your relatives keep. Don’t give it to any relatives like Hunter, though.

  • GWB says:

    FYSA, I went looking for gun safes. And a LOT of them have (or had until this week) the exact same policies concerning digital locks. And these were big names in the gun industry. Use this as a wakeup – there are plenty of people in the 2A industry who think the same way about your gun safes (or payment means) as other people do about their phone belonging to Google or Apple. They give you this stunned mullet look, “But I’m not doing anything wrong…”.

    I also saw someone who had created a gun “safe” out of an old soda machine (not operable after the modifications). So I went looking for used soda machines. The cost is comparable to gun safes. Not as ultimately secure, but there is some security in obscurity….

  • GWB says:

    BTW, based on the discussion above with Liz about safe combos:
    Consider ALL of your various things that a relative might have to deal with when you pass. Figure a secure way to pass the code for your phone, your email password, your bank account password, an inventory of your firearms, etc.

    You don’t necessarily need to pass all of them along. But think about each of them, at least. Do you want to lose forever the pictures of family and events that are in your iCloud account? Are there things in your email that need to be preserved for, say, probate? Do you have safes with valuables or, maybe the authenticity certificate for that Persian rug in your entryway or the jade necklace you bought overseas? What about your birth certificate and other important historical documents?

    Depending on your answers, ensure you have a secure-while-you’re-alive method to pass them along to your estate. (And secure-while-you’re-alive should definitely include consideration of the gov’t coming along to accuse you of something.)

    And, as for guns, always remember and never forget:
    One of the worst things that can happen after you die is that your wife sells your guns for what you told her you paid for them. 😉

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