On Dec. 21, 2015, a Hillary Clinton aide named Sara Solow let her colleagues on the campaign know she had some good news: Executives at Apple and Google were reacting favorably to Clinton's comments on encryption at a Democratic primary debate.
In stolen emails obtained and released by WikiLeaks, Solow passed along a message she had received from an executive at Apple. "From my contact Nick at Apple," she wrote. "Looks good. Just heard that Google is good too."
"Nick" is likely Nick Ammann, director of global government operations at Apple. Solow passed on an email from Nick that appears to show his response to an earlier note from Solow, which is not included in the chain. "Hi, Sara," he wrote. "Thanks! Yes, this was great. I got the clip to Tim last night." That is an apparent reference to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Nick said Clinton's encryption comments were appropriate: "Definitely struck the right tone," he wrote.
Taken together, the emails seem to suggest that the Clinton campaign was seeking the approval of Apple and Google as it rolled out Clinton's position on encryption, and that Apple approved of her statements. And it gives a sense of the degree of influence and access the Silicon Valley companies have with the Clinton campaign. The email exchange came just weeks after the San Bernardino, California, attacks, but before Apple's fight with the FBI over access to the locked iPhone of one of the killers burst into public view in early 2016.