The National Security Agency's director flatly denied a Washington Post report Wednesday that the NSA secretly broke into communications links to Google and Yahoo servers overseas.
Army Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, pushed back against the report that cites leaked classified documents, saying the agency does not illegally access the servers of Internet companies.
"The servers and everything we do with those, those companies work with us. They are compelled to work with us. This isn't something the court just said, 'Would you please work with them and throw data over it.' This is compelled. And this is specific requirements that come from a court order," Alexander said at a cybersecurity conference in Washington.
"This is not NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. So, I don't know what the report is. But I can tell you factually we do not have access to Google servers, Yahoo servers. We go through a court order."
The NSA similarly denied the claim in a written statement to CNN saying, "The assertion that we collect vast quantities of U.S. persons' data from this type of collection is also not true."
"We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping," said Google, "which is why we have continued to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links"
Yahoo said, "We have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency."