The Post and the Guardian named Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, AOL and Paltalk as companies whose data has been obtained.
All the companies have issued statements asserting that they are not voluntarily handing over user data and emphatically rejecting reports indicating that PRISM has opened a door for the NSA to tap directly on the companies’ data centers.
In his statement, Clapper appeared to support that claim by stressing that the government did not act unilaterally, but with court authority.
The Guardian reported on Saturday that it had obtained top-secret documents detailing an NSA tool, called Boundless Informant, that maps the information it collects from computer and telephone networks by country.
The paper said the documents show NSA collected almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March, which the paper says calls into question NSA statements that it cannot determine how many Americans may be accidentally included in its computer surveillance.
NSA spokesperson Judith Emmel said on Saturday that “current technology simply does not permit us to positively identify all of the persons or locations associated with a given communication.”
Obama on Friday echoed intelligence experts who predicted that potential attackers will find other, secretive ways to communicate now that they know that their telephone and Internet records may be targeted.
An al-Qaeda affiliated Web site on Saturday warned against using the Internet to discuss issues related to militant activities in three long articles on what it called “America’s greatest and unprecedented scandal of spying on its own citizens and people in other countries.”
“Caution: Oh brothers, it is a great danger revealing PRISM, the greatest American spying project,” one member wrote.
“A highly important caution for the Internet jihadis ... American intelligence gets information from Facebook and Google,” another wrote.
See US’ on page 9