In an interesting bit of timing, just as the Washington Post was breaking the news that the NSA had infiltrated
Google and Yahoo's cloud data by hacking into the (stupidly) unencrypted data links between data centers, it turned out that NSA boss Keith Alexander was on stage at a Bloomberg Government Cybersecurity conference. He was asked about the report, and he tried to tap dance around it by claiming the NSA doesn't have access to Yahoo and Google's servers
. The Guardian has a brief summary
Alexander, asked about the Post report, denied it. “Not to my knowledge, that’s never happened,” the NSA director said, before reiterating an earlier denial Prism gave the NSA direct access to the servers of its internet service provider partners.
“Everything we do with those companies that work with us, they are compelled to work with us,” Alexander said. “These are specific requirements that come from a court order. This is not the 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, dot-dot-dot. We go through a court order.”
But, of course, in typical Alexander fashion, he's choosing his words carefully -- and thankfully people can more easily see through it at this point, since they're getting so used to it. The report didn't say they were accessing those companies' servers
, but rather hacking into the network
connection between their data centers. That's like a report breaking of the NSA hijacking armored cars with cash, and Alexander claiming "we didn't break into the bank." Nice try.