But a running process or piece of hardware sitting in their DC sniffing traffic? No.
That's what I think they're saying, at any rate.
EDIT: One plausible explanation for why everyone keeps using the phrase "direct access" is because it appears in the Guardian story as the first sentence: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-n...
* No direct access.
* Never heard of Prism.
* We review each request.
* We want more government transparency.
Edit: Formatted the list.
Now I'm thinking that, yes, they coordinated their responses with the aid of the government. Dammit. I guess that's where my optimism gets me.