AT& T receives over $10 million each year from the CIA to provide phone records during counterterrorism investigations. The second largest mobile provider is cooperating with the CIA under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders.
AT&T confirmed claims of working with the CIA. Reports said payments from the government were routine for lawful data. The phone records included data such as length and date of calls, and information about the Americans international calls since they would be speaking with someone overseas.
An insider claims former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents describing how the U.S. government collects far more internet and telephone data than suspected.
Most of the calls provided by AT&T involve foreign to foreign calls. AT&T does disclose the identity of Americans calling from the United States and hides their phone numbers when they produce the records. AT&T said all government data requests were handled in a lawful manner.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said, “we ensure that we maintain customer information in compliance with the laws of the United States and other countries where information may be maintained. Like all telecom providers, we routinely charge governments for producing the information provided.”