Apple is back on the New York Times’ front page

This time for giving up iPhone metadata for Don McGahn and his wife.

apple don mcgahn

From Monday’s Times:

The Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for information in February 2018 about an account that belonged to Donald F. McGahn II, President Donald J. Trump’s White House counsel at the time, and barred the company from telling him about it, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Apple told Mr. McGahn about the subpoena last month, said one of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. Mr. McGahn’s wife also received a similar notice from Apple, the person said.

It is not clear what F.B.I. agents were investigating, whether Mr. McGahn was their specific focus or whether he was swept up in a larger net because he had communicated with someone who was under scrutiny. As the top lawyer for the 2016 Trump campaign and then the White House counsel, Mr. McGahn was in contact with numerous people who may have drawn attention either as part of the Russia investigation or a later leak inquiry.

My take: These stories make me wonder how committed Apple is to protecting its users’ privacy. (For the record, Trump was right to distrust his White House counsel. When Mueller called him in for questioning, McGahn sang like a canary.)


  1. David Emery said:
    “wonder how committed Apple is to protecting its users’ privacy”

    I think Apple is committed to following the laws of the countries in which it operates. I really don’t think Apple should be in the business of deciding which laws it will choose to disobey.

    June 14, 2021
  2. Jonny T said:
    Is Apple committed to defying the legitimate laws of a democracy? Nope.

    June 14, 2021
  3. Fred Stein said:
    In support of David Emery’s point:

    What if Apple had conceded to the FBI demand for a back-door? Then lawful (???) subpoenas could get all the private data, not just the metadata.

    NYT needs to point the blame where it belongs.

    June 14, 2021
  4. Lalit Jagtap said:
    NYT is the sickest American Media company in my book. It is not simply because of media articles published about Apple as the worst company, but the systematic actions it takes to keep major part of humanity ignorant. The NYT team, needs major overhaul from top to bottom, to help themselves and in turn help our democratic society. Does NYT team, ever thought about researching more about “politics and race” in USA? like this latest example at

    June 14, 2021
  5. Timothy Smith said:
    McGahn was not Trump’s personal attorney, but the White House attorney, and he owed no duty of attorney-client confidentiality to Trump. I am sure McGahn warned Trump about this distinction. Mueller never attempted to interview Dowd, as his communications with Trump were confidential. Dowd, in turn, agreed to allow McGahn to speak to Mueller, with the understanding that McGahn would be honest, so Trump could claim “full cooperation,” and avoid being personally interviewed or deposed, during which Dowd was convinced Trump would commit perjury or obstruction. It was a trade off. So, I think the characterization of “singing like a canary” is a little unfair.

    June 14, 2021

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