The Central Intelligence Agency has been paying communications giant $10 million annually for access to the company’s massive database of telephone records, which contains international and domestic calls, government sources said.

The business deal is voluntary, The New York Times reported. Neither subpoena nor court order compels the company to participate, the unnamed government officials said in the report.

How it reportedly works: The CIA gives AT&T phone numbers of suspected terrorists operating overseas, and the company searches its database. If a match is found, AT&T supplies the CIA with the records, The New York Times reported. Some of the searches that start overseas may lead to records on American citizens.
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