SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Members of President Barack Obama’s national security team met on Friday with Silicon Valley tech leaders in an effort to fight terrorism recruitment online.
Surrounded by U.S. secret service agents, top members of President Obama’s national security team were spotted late Friday morning taking a casual coffee break on the streets of San Jose.
White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson and Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and other senior officials were here to meet with Silicon Valley tech executives at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Former FBI agent Rick Smith says the government has been frustrated by the inability to access private cell phone information from people suspected of terrorism.
It’s one reason why law enforcement says it missed on the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
But last month Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company’s encryption technology as a privacy issue.
“On your smartphone today there is likely health information, there is financial information,” said Cook. “And you should have the ability to protect it. The only way we know how to do that is to encrypt it.”
The meeting lasted five hours. Streets were blocked as a motorcade drove to Mineta San Jose International where a government plane was waiting.
The meeting is part of a broader effort by President Obama to create a new task force focused on defeating terror groups online, a move applauded even by Republicans.
“We need to shine a light on those communications, because if you can’t see what they’re saying, you can’t stop it,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).