Ex-CIA officer turned GOP Rep: Why I support Apple

Apple asks for new ruling

Former CIA agent and Republican Rep. Will Hurd said Friday he backs Apple in its dispute with the FBI.

That's because there is not enough evidence to suggest that forcing Apple to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone will yield information to warrant issuing such a bold order to a private company, the Texas congressman told CNBC.

"To take the extraordinary measure of the FBI dictating for a private company to design their program in a certain way, it takes an extraordinary amount of evidence to say we should do this," he told "Squawk Box."

Apple on Thursday struck back in court against the U.S. government demand that it unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, arguing such a move would violate its free speech rights and override the will of Congress.

The FBI last week obtained the order requiring Apple to write new software and take other measures to disable passcode protection and allow access to the phone issued to Syed Rizwan Farook by his employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. The department does not oppose the government's bid to inspect the phone.

Farook, along with his wife, killed 14 people and wounded 22 in an attack on a county government facility in December.

Hurd, who also co-founded a cybersecurity firm, said he opposes creating back doors to technology because they can be exploited by bad actors. He said he worried that there was not enough "technical knowledge and understanding" of the issues at hand in the debate.

Hurd said one thing Hurd learned during his more than nine years chasing terrorists is the private sector is an important partner in the fight. He said the FBI already has information from the phone's iCloud backup and can obtain information from app creators and cellphone records or text messages from service providers.

"I don't understand what information the FBI thinks they don't have," he said. "How many weeks has it been since the initial threats and the initial attack?"

In its brief, Apple said software was a form of protected speech, and thus the Justice Department's demand violated the Constitution.

"The government's request here creates an unprecedented burden on Apple and violates Apple's First Amendment rights against compelled speech," it said.

Apple also contended that the court was overstepping its jurisdiction, noting that Congress had rejected legislation that would have required companies to do the things the government is asking Apple to do in this case.

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Hurd said it is indeed Congress's responsibility to facilitate the conversation about balancing privacy and security.

Larry Bossidy, former Honeywell chairman and CEO, said he, too, believes the debate should be resolved in Congress because privacy issues will continually arise as technology changes.

He added that he did not find fault with either party. He said he doesn't disagree with FBI director James Comey for going after Apple, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has told his customers his product is secure and must stand by that claim.

"To take a black or white view on this I think is just the wrong place to be," Bossidy told "Squawk Box" in a separate interview on Friday.

— Reuters contributed to this story.