Wiretapped payphone

The NSA wields its legal authority to collect phone call data from American telecom providers, but the CIA apparently doesn't even need to apply pressure. The New York Times claims that the agency has a years-old voluntary agreement with AT&T that lets it obtain the call records of foreign suspects; the CIA pays $10 million per year in compensation. While the carrier reportedly hides identifying data for American participants, intelligence officers can demand that information as well if they get FBI subpoenas. Both AT&T and the CIA tell the Times that they're obeying the law, but that may not be very reassuring to those who want to keep their international calls private.

[Image credit: David Drexler, Flickr]