We analyze HST spectra and Chandra observations of a sample of 21 low ionization nuclear emission line regions (LINERs), at least 18 of which genuine active galactic nuclei. We find a correlation between the X-rays and emission lines luminosities, extending over three orders of magnitude and with a dispersion of 0.36 dex; no differences emerge between LINERs with and without broad lines, or between radio-loud and radio-quiet sources. The presence of such a strong correlation is remarkable considering that for half of the sample the X-ray luminosity can not be corrected for local absorption. This connection is readily understood since the X-ray light is associated with the same source producing the ionizing photons at the origin of the line emission. This implies that we have a direct view of the LINERs nuclei in the X-rays: the circumnuclear, high column density structure (the torus) is absent in these sources. Such a conclusion is also supported by mid-infrared data. We suggest that this is due to the general paucity of gas and dust in their nuclear regions that causes also their low rate of accretion and low bolometric luminosity.