WASHINGTON — The U.S. director of national intelligence late Thursday confirmed the existence of a secret program in which the government has tapped into the central servers of nine leading Internet companies to search for data potentially linked to terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation, but he called two newspapers’ disclosure of it “reprehensible.”
Under the 6-year-old program, code-named PRISM, the FBI and National Security Agency have searched for emails, videos, photographs and other documents. The effort involves Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple, the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian reported, quoting from classified documents. Among major Internet companies, only Twitter has so far been a holdout, the Post said.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper confirmed the program but said the Post and Guardian articles contained “numerous inaccuracies.”
Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo all denied participating. The others did not respond to requests for comment Thursday night.
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