Wikileaks: Clinton staffer advised to “proceed cautiously” with Apple’s Tim Cook

“He’s supportive, but new to this so I think we shouldn’t come on too strong.”

More than a year before Tim Cook thrust himself into the 2016 Presidential campaign—snubbing the Republican convention that nominated Donald Trump and hosting a matched pair of Silicon Valley fundraisers for Paul Ryan and Hillary Clinton—the CEO of Apple held a secret one-on-one meeting with Clinton campaign chairman and media pointman John Podesta, Wikileaks revealed last week.

The meeting came up in a hacked e-mail exchange conducted in late June 2015 between Podesta, former Google executive and current Clinton CTO Stephanie Hannon, and chief fundraiser Lindsay Roitman. Also mentioned is Erika Rottenberg, former LinkedIn general counsel, who was hosting a fundraiser that week.

The text of the e-mail chain, reformatted for clarity:

June 20, 2015
From: Hannon
To: Podesta 
Re: Tim Cook + Monday

Hey John:

Finance event + tech roundtable went very well today in SF.

I heard from Lindsay that you are visiting Tim Cook on Monday. I would love to (kill to) join you if appropriate. However, if better smaller, no problem at all. Just wanted to share that Ill be in town all Monday since we have our Erika event on Monday night.

See you soon,

June 21, 8:02 pm
From: Roitman

To: Hannon, Podesta

Tim’s office requested a 1:1 meeting today, which was a nice way of saying “no staff”.   I think this is one we should proceed cautiously. He’s supportive but new to this so I think we shouldn’t come on too strong.

Steph, thanks for circling back, see you tomorrow night.

June, 21, 10:13 pm
From: Hannon

To: Roitman, Podesta

Understood, thanks for getting back to me!  See you at Erika’s house!

The subject of the meeting is not discussed in this exchange, but a briefing Rottenberg supplied Podesta touched on what were the Valley’ hot topics that summer:

  • surveillance and national security
  • patent reform
  • net neutrality, and, of course,
  • e-mail issue

To see how the Clinton campaign framed the issues, see Rottenberg’s briefing memo here. Her characterization of Clinton’s e-mail problems (“smacks of acting above the law”) made news last week.


  1. John Kirk said:
    I hate reading all these stolen emails. It’s not right. I can’t tell you the number of stupid things I’ve said in emails, sometimes because I’m in a hurry, sometimes because I’m testing ideas, sometimes because, you know, I’m stupid. But these emails were meant for eyes other than yours. The eyes of people who would understand me, help me to see things in a different light. Eyes that wold forgive my foibles and know what I meant, not just what I said.

    My emails are meant for the recipient, no one else.And the same is true of everyone else’s emails.

    I’m not naive. I know this isn’t going to stop. Hackers will always be one step ahead of security experts. People love gossip, particularly salacious gossip. I have to accept it. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    October 16, 2016
    • David Gleason said:
      I agree with you, it’s an ugly, demeaning way to achieve “transparency.” And yet, we live in an age when the agents of power control everything. Breaking and entering is not new and it’s one way to keep light shining on what’s going on. Even Robin Hood robbed from the rich to become a hero. But I agree, it’s not decent or right, even if it’s “justified.” Someone recently asked me, “Is Edward Snowdon a hero, or a traitor?” I could only answer, “Yes.”

      October 16, 2016
      • John Kirk said:
        Snowden I view differently, although many disagree with me. He revealed crimes. The criminals, not the one’s who exposed the criminals, should be punished.

        The leaks we’re talking about here are not unveiling criminal activity. They’re just unveiling activity. Private activity that should remain private.

        October 17, 2016
  2. Jonathan Mackenzie said:
    Clinton, Wikileaks, and Apple all in one story. Nice find.

    October 16, 2016
  3. Ken Cheng said:
    ” I think this is one we should proceed cautiously. He’s supportive but new to this so I think we shouldn’t come on too strong.”

    Ha! “new to” having to pay obeisance to the power brokers in DC.

    October 17, 2016

Leave a Reply