Democrat records seized from Apple in Trump leaks investigation

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What you need to know

  • A new report says that the Justice Department took a "highly unusual" step in investigating classified leaks during the Trump administration.
  • It is reported that Apple was subpoenaed for data from the accounts of two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
  • It also took records of their aides and family members, including one minor.

A new report says that Apple was subpoenaed in a "highly unusual step" when the Justice Department investigated leaks of classified information during the Trump administration.

From The New York Times:

As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor.

The report says that records of a dozen people were seized in 2017 and 2018, naming representatives Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California.

The report says that the data and evidence "did not tie the committee to the leaks", but that a "gag order" on Apple meant they did not know they were being investigated until they were told by Apple. The report says that Apple "and another internet service provider" were subpoenaed and that it was only in May that Apple was able to notify the people involved. It did not reportedly share any details about the extent of the request.

A former Justice Department official, David Laufman, who has experience with leak investigations said that "including family members and minor children strikes me as extremely aggressive" and said the move raised "serious questions about whether the manner in which this investigation was conducted was influenced by political considerations rather than purely legal ones."

Apple is, of course, no stranger to law enforcement requests for data, and has processes in place to deal with them because they're so frequent.

You can read the full report here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9