While secrecy is part of the excitement at Apple headquarters in Silicon Valley — today marked 30 years since Steve Jobs told America via TV that something big was coming — CEO Tim Cook said secrecy in the form of the US controversial surveillance program gave him pause.
In December, 15 tech giants including Cook met with President Obama over the government’s national security surveillance programs.
Before the meeting, executives had signed a letter calling for changes to practices they said violated the rights of their users.
“From my point of view, number one, we need to be significantly more transparent,” he told ABC News’ David Muir in an exclusive interview. “We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many accounts are affected. We need to be clear and we have a gag order on us right now, and so, we can’t say those things.”
Cook said that during that meeting with Obama, he’d pushed for more transparency.
“Much of what has been said isn’t true,” Cook said. “There is no back door. The government doesn’t have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that — and that just will not happen. We feel that, strongly about it.”
He said that he would “absolutely” press Congress for more transparency. In response to the meeting, the White House said that Obama “made clear his belief in an open, free, and innovative Internet.”
In the meantime, Cook continues to press his team for the next big thing. Among them is one of the members of the original Mac.
In December, Cook announced via Tweet that Apple had started manufacturing the Mac Pro in Austin, Texas.
Cook said having it made in America was a “big deal, but we think we can do more.”
When it came to that “more,” he shared few details.
“We also announced a huge investment in Arizona that isn’t as well-known because we haven’t said what it’s for,” Cook said. “It’s the Sapphire announcement and that’s sort of all I’ll say about it. … I can tell you, we are working really hard on it.”
“Secrecy is part of the culture,” he said. “It’s part of the excitement at Apple, too, is it not?”
ABC News’ David Muir and Christine Romo contributed to this story.