Al Jazeera America reporter Jason Leopold says that he has obtained emails that show that Google execs Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt had a closer relationship with National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander than previously disclosed. Tech companies have worked hard to distance themselves from the NSA ever since leaked documents provided by Edward Snowden were published showing the extent of the agency’s spying on Americans.

Many, including Google, have said they only ever provided information to the government when compelled to do so by law. However, Leopold says the emails -obtained via a FOIA request -reveal that Schmidt and Brin were working closely with Alexander long before the Snowden leaks:

Alexander, Schmidt and other industry executives met earlier in the month, according to the email. But Alexander wanted another meeting with Schmidt and “a small group of CEOs” later that summer because the government needed Silicon Valley’s help.

“About six months ago, we began focusing on the security of mobility devices,” Alexander wrote. “A group (primarily Google, Apple and Microsoft) recently came to agreement on a set of core security principles. When we reach this point in our projects we schedule a classified briefing for the CEOs of key companies to provide them a brief on the specific threats we believe can be mitigated and to seek their commitment for their organization to move ahead … Google’s participation in refinement, engineering and deployment of the solutions will be essential.”

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