Tech

Steve Bannon's warning to Apple: 'I would pay attention' to Trump's tweet on unlocking iPhones

Key Points
  • Trump's former chief strategist says the president is going to "drop the hammer" on getting tech companies to work with authorities.
  • "If I were the guys at Apple I would pay attention to President Trump's tweets," Bannon said. "I would treat his tweets like a papal bull."
  • Trump suggested in a tweet that Apple should unlock password-protected iPhones used by the shooter who killed three people at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in December.
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Former White House advisor Steve Bannon: Apple should provide backdoor to US government

Steve Bannon said Wednesday he believes President Donald Trump will "drop the hammer" on technology companies if they don't cooperate with investigators seeking information in the devices of criminal suspects.

"If I were the guys at Apple, I would pay attention to President Trump's tweets," Bannon said in a "Squawk Box" interview on CNBC "I would treat his tweets like a papal bull."

The president slammed Apple on Tuesday, suggesting in a tweet that the tech giant should unlock password-protected iPhones used by the shooter who killed three people at the Pensacola Naval Air Station before being fatally shot in December.

TRUMP TWEET

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said Apple had not provided "substantive assistance" in unlocking the shooter's two iPhones.

Apple rejected Barr's assertion, saying in a statement that it provided gigabytes of information to law enforcement related to the Pensacola case but it would not build a "backdoor" or specialized software to give authorities elevated access. The shooter, Saudi Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, is suspected of being motivated by terrorism.