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US NSA hacked millions of emails from Google, Yahoo servers: Report

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 16:58

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Washington: In the latest revelations to further hit the US, a report has emerged saying that the National Security Agency tapped into and lifted data from the communication links connecting Google and Yahoo servers across the world, however the agency has denied the reports.

As per the secret documents leaked by the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, NSA collects a whopping amount of data by tapping into millions of emails from various user accounts across the world, claimed a report published in the US daily Washington Post.

Denying the report, NSA director keith Alexander said, "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."
Citing a top secret document dated Jan 9, 2013, the report says that the agency`s acquisitions directorate sends millions of emails every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to NSA headquarters at Fort Meade.

The NSA in collaboration with its British counterpar the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) operate on a project named MUSCULAR, which facilitates them to lift humongous amounts of data travelling through fibre-optic cables that link various data centres across the globe.

The project MUSCULAR, writes the Post, seems to be a high tech and aggressive method of spying against flagship American companies and is different from PRISM, another surveillance programme of NSA, which gives the agency legal access to Google and Yahoo account users.

Denying the claims that it collected vast amounts of personal data of Americans, NSA said in a statement that the main motive of the agency was defending the nation.

The statement added that "NSA is a foreign intelligence agency and they were mainly focussed on gathering intelligence about valid "foreign intelligence targets only".

"NSA applies Attorney General-approved processes to protect the privacy of U.S. persons - minimizing the likelihood of their information in our targeting, collection, processing, exploitation, retention, and dissemination", the statement said.

Reacting on the report, Google`s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said that the company did not provide any government with access to their data servers.

Expressing ire at the snooping reports by the NSA, Drummond said, We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform.”

The latest bombshell on the US spying comes as the government is already reeling from worldwide complaints regarding it snooping on world leaders and millions of phone calls in various countries like France, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Brazil.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing for a no-spy treaty with the US as a team of German intelligence officers met the US spy chiefs in the White House.

The revelations also come as the US Senate intelligence committee announced a major review of the entire surveillance operations in light of the increasing global indignation against the unbridled US spying operations.

First Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 09:34

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