FBI vs. Apple feud in focus after terror suspects captured

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 18, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  And you probably heard what Catherine was talking about there.  And I -- there`s some buzzwords, phones, computers, electronic devices, encryption.

Does all of this sort of ring a combined bell here?

It does to former CIA Director James Woolsey.  Again, he joins now to us sort of put a perspective on this.

Director, very good to have you.  Thanks for taking the time.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR:  Always good to be with you, Neil.

CAVUTO:  What do you make of this and how we might have found Salah Abdeslam maybe through the very devices that we`re debating using or getting information from in the United States right now?

WOOLSEY:  Well, Apple has helped the Bureau and other law enforcement institutions to get into phones a number of times.  What is really at issue in the fight in the United States is that the Bureau wants to design the operating system or at least a key part of the operating system for Apple, and they want to make sure that there`s a backdoor for all Apple phones.

And Apple understandably is resisting that.  This is an important issue and there`s value on both sides.  This is -- security and privacy are both important, so there`s not a simple answer to it.

CAVUTO:  No, you`re right.  You`re right.

WOOLSEY:  But what really ought to happen is that Apple and the Bureau ought to get together with a couple of experts on each side and sort something out that will last long-term, because it`s just not realistic, I don`t think, to suppose that the Bureau gets to design essentially an important aspect of the operating system for Apple and put a backdoor in all Apple phones.

If they do that, the next time we have a dispute over phones with Iran or China or any of a number of places, courts in other countries are going to say, hey, we want to be able to do what the American Bureau can do.  We want to be able to get into your phone, and here`s the backdoor.  Here we go.

We don`t want that.

CAVUTO:  Yes, you`re right about that.  We don`t know even about whether the devices involved here in Brussels were all Apple products.  I`m told at least among the attackers when they first happened back in November there were a variety of devices, Android and Apple devices.  I`m getting kind of in the weeds here, but that authorities there were able to get on these devices later on after many of them killed themselves to get this, including the suspect`s brother, who blew himself up outside a stadium, believe.

WOOLSEY:  Right.

CAVUTO:  But having said that, Director, is it your sense here that -- and, again, we don`t know how they finally got in and found the right neighborhood, the right apartment complex this week, tracked down these guys today.  Apparently, there`s one more they`re trying to find today.

That the electronics, the gadgets, those devices have led them to this day, this moment.

WOOLSEY:  We`re just not sure.

It could have been one of a number of things.  One of the reports said that fingerprints of Salah were present in the apartment, and that is quick and very professional forensics if the French or Belgian intelligence or law enforcement found that out and they used that to find Salah.

I think we just don`t know yet whether it was electronic devices or something else.

CAVUTO:  We have learned a little built, Director, about maybe we weren`t the only ones -- that is, Western powers went weren`t the only ones interested in finding this guy.  So was ISIS, hoping and maybe assuming that he had killed himself, and he didn`t.

WOOLSEY:  Right.

CAVUTO:  What are we to glean from that?

WOOLSEY:  Well, ISIS of course would have loved to have gotten their hands on him, and any forceful interrogation that he experiences at the hands of, say, the French, are going to be nothing compared to what ISIS would have done to him in order to have tried to get information out of him.

So, he is lucky that he wasn`t out free long enough for ISIS to get ahold of him.

CAVUTO:  Amazing.

All right, Director, on these fast-breaking news developments, I appreciate your indulgence, James Woolsey, the former CIA director.


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