Newly released text messages between two FBI officials show just how much distaste there was for Tim Cook and Apple two years ago during the company’s fight against unlocking the iPhone owned by the San Bernardino shooter.
The texts, released as part of an investigation into how the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton probe, range from consumer tracking accusations to pure insults…
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Business Insider dug through hundreds of pages of FBI text messages released by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The texts are between Peter Strzok, an FBI counterintelligence agent, and Lisa Page, a lawyer for the FBI.
Neither Page nor Strzok were officially involved in the FBI’s case against Apple and were communicating as seemingly bystanders in Washington D.C.
The day that then-FBI director James Comey announced that the FBI had been unable to access the data on the shooter’s iPhone 5c is when the back and forth between Strzok and Page began.
That evening, Strzok wrote Page saying, “And what makes me really angry about that Apple thing? The fact that Tim Cook plays such the privacy advocate.” Strzok continues on, accusing Cook of designing iOS to track people without their knowledge. “Yeah, jerky, your entire OS is designed to track me without me evening knowing it,” he writes.
Page responds by calling Cook a “hypocrite,” to which Strzok says that he has the tracking feature “turned off,” whatever tracking feature that may be.
Ironically, the same day that Tim Cook published an open letter on Apple’s site defending the company’s stance against the FBI, Page and Strzok again start to talk about the situation. Ultimately, Page says they can continue the conversation over iMessage to avoid having their messages monitored. One day, Page and Strzok are accusing Apple of tracking, 5 days later they’re taking advantage of iMessage’s end-to-end encryption.
Several months later, Page and Strzok again talk about Tim Cook.
Strzok: “NYTimes breaking. You saw the byline right?”
Page: “It helps that the Director and Deputy really hate these phones too. And really love their personal iPhones.”
Strzok: “Now if Tim Cook would fall off the face of the earth.”
Business Insider suggests that the New York Times story to which Strzok is referring is this one about the FBI’s Hillary Clinton investigation. It’s unclear how the conversation turned to Tim Cook.
A month later, Strzok texts Page asking if she’d seen that Tim Cook made the list of potential Hillary Clinton running mates, to which Page replies “Gross, no.” As we reported at the time, Cook’s name was present on a leaked list of potential Clinton running mates.
Business Insider highlights several additional mentions of Apple in the text messages. Head there for all the details.