The "Washington Post" is reporting the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) secretly broke into the main communications links used by Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, giving the agency direct access to hundreds of millions of users' e-mail accounts and other data.
The October 30 report, citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said the program, dubbed MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the NSA's British counterpart GCHQ.
The agencies were reportedly able to intercept data flows from the fiber-optic cables used by the U.S. Internet giants.
According to a secret document dated January 9, 2013, the NSA sent millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google to a warehouse at the agency's Fort Meade headquarters.
Google and Yahoo released statements saying they had no knowledge their data centers had been compromised.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa