Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple: The Cook in President Obama's Kitchen Cabinet

August 9, 2013: 6:59 AM ET

Apple's CEO paid a visit to the White House Thursday. Stop the presses.

Photo: Matt H. Wade, Wikipedia

Photo: Matt H. Wade, Wikipedia

FORTUNE -- According to a report in Politico, Google (GOOG) vice president Vint Cerf, who co-designed the TCP/IP protocol that is the foundation of the Internet, attended a closed-door briefing with President Obama Thursday to talk about U.S. government surveillance.

So did Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (T), as well as representatives of groups like Public Knowledge and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

But the name in the headline of Tony Romm's Politico piece -- and every other story that piggy-backed on Romm's scoop -- was Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple (AAPL).

Is there anything to this besides search engine optimization -- the cold hard fact that Apple in a headline generates more page views than, say, AT&T?

Not much, just this: The White House also knows how the game is played.

The Obama Administration is in damage control mode following revelations that the NSA -- which by charter is supposed to limit its intelligence gathering to overseas communications -- has been vacuuming up the domestic phone calls and Internet communications of American citizens as well.

There have been at least two meetings in the White House this week with a Kitchen Cabinet of tech execs and public interest leaders to try to smooth badly ruffled feathers. The three Administration sources who spoke to Politico's Romm could have leaked any number of names.

But if they want to generate headlines, the name they will drop first is Apple's Tim Cook.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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