The CIA pays AT&T more than $10 million annually for foreign call logs

By on November 7, 2013, 12:30 PM
att, cia, intelligence, call logs, international calls, counterterrorism

AT&T is on the receiving end of a $10 million payout each year from the CIA in exchange for providing phone records to help with overseas counterterrorism investigations. It’s a program that the wireless provider voluntarily agrees to meaning there’s no court order involved according to a report from the New York Times.

The publication claims the CIA supplies AT&T with the phone numbers of suspected terrorists. From here, the wireless provider is able to comb their database for call records attached to a given number. These records include valuable information such as the length and date of phone calls. In the event that a call is placed to or from an American number and involved an international caller, the CIA reportedly asks AT&T to mask the identity of the US-based number for legal reasons.

In case you were wondering, the arrangement is said to be different from the tactics the NSA uses to collect phone records although they likely duplicate some of their programs. It appears to have been started sometime before 2010, was put on hold at some point then reinitiated once again.

Naturally, neither AT&T nor the CIA would confirm the existence of the partnership. An anonymous intelligence official, however, believes it makes sense for such a program to be in place. The source said the need to act without delay is often best met when the CIA has developed its own capabilities to lawfully acquire necessary foreign intelligence information.




User Comments: 5

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veLa veLa said:

Seems to be a lack of due process with this sort of relationship.

spencer spencer said:

Seems the crazy "conspiracy theorist" is right again.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If it truly is only foreign call logs, my name won't be included. But seriously, ten million tax dollars paid annually to AT&T! How many here hates AT&T, but yet supports them unwillingly/unknowingly every time they pay taxes?

Guest said:

How many here hates AT&T, but yet supports them unwillingly/unknowingly every time they pay taxes?

I hate AT&T, but unfortunately, I support AT&T reluctantly because it's the only service available in my area.

Phillip Seni said:

Privacy is privacy until the economics of 'trade' kicks in.

select your choice: warrant duly issued by authority, fee, or hack.

the CIA reportedly asks AT&T to mask the identity of the US-based number for legal reasons.

I call it BS... snowden claims that the u.s. government is also spying on its own citizens so the 'masking' of u.s. numbers is not a logical step as far as spying is concerned because the u.s. needs to fight terrorists both foreign and domestic. homeland tv series, anyone?

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