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Photo: Hitoshi Yamada/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Frustrated Apple executives are getting even more categorical in their denial of a Bloomberg Businessweek story saying that Apple was among nearly 30 U.S. companies that had computer equipment compromised by China, which inserted malicious chips during the manufacturing process.

Why it matters: This fight is going to get bigger. Apple yesterday wrote to the House and Senate commerce committees to say that its internal investigations "directly contradict every consequential assertion made in the article — some of which ... were based on a single anonymous source."

  • "Apple has never found malicious chips, 'hardware manipulations' or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server. We never alerted the FBI to any security concerns like those described in the article, nor has the FBI ever contacted us about such an investigation."
  • "[W]hile the story was being reported, we spoke with Bloomberg’s reporters and editors and ... methodically dispelled the often-shifting nature of their claims. ... [T]he gravity and magnitude of the claims seemed to be undermined by their uncertainty around key details."

George Stathakopoulos, Apple's vice president of information security, wrote to the committees: "I will be available to brief your staff this week to further address the information we’ve offered."

  • Apple has some high-profile backing: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Saturday that it has "no reason to doubt" the companies' denials. Britain’s national cyber security agency said the same on Friday.

Bloomberg reissued its earlier response: "Bloomberg Businessweek's investigation is the result of more than a year of reporting, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews.

  • "Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. ... We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources."

The takeaway: Ben Thompson writes in his Stratechery today: "[A]t this point it is very difficult to assume the story was correct. I suspect there is something there, but that Bloomberg got some very important details wrong."

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Go deeper

36 mins ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."

Justice Department closes Emmett Till murder probe

A faded photograph is attached to the headstone that marks the gravesite of Emmett Till in Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

The family of Emmett Till announced Monday that the Department of Justice has formally closed its second investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till.

Why it matters: The DOJ reopened the probe in 2018 after the white woman at the center of the case reportedly recanted her allegation that Till, a Black 14-year-old, sexually harassed her prior to his murder.

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes to retire, will be CEO of Trump media org

Rep. Devin Nunes. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who serves as the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, will retire at the end of the year and become CEO of Trump's new media organization.

Why it matters: Nunes, once considered a moderate member of the party, became one of the fiercest defenders of former President Donald Trump throughout both of Trump's impeachments and the Intel committee's Russia investigation.

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