“The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials,” Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani report for The Washington Post.

“By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans,” Gellman and Soltani report. “The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.”

“According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters,” Gellman and Soltani report. “In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from ‘metadata,’ which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.”

“The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process,” Gellman and Soltani report. “The MUSCULAR project appears to be an unusually aggressive use of NSA tradecraft against flagship American companies. The agency is built for high-tech spying, with a wide range of digital tools, but it has not been known to use them routinely against U.S. companies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Join The Electronic Frontier Foundation in calling for a full congressional investigation here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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