WASHINGTON, D.C. – The CIA pays AT&T more than $10 million a year to provide phone records with possible links to suspected terrorists, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing government officials.The arrangement is voluntary and there is no court order requiring the company to cooperate with the Central Intelligence Agency, officials told the Times.The program differs from controversial data collection by the National Security Agency, which receives phone records or other “meta-data” from telecommunications companies through court orders.The CIA passes on phone numbers of suspected militants abroad and AT&T then sifts through its database for records of phone calls that can identify foreigners with terror links, the newspaper reported.Most of the logs handed over by AT&T are related to foreign-to-foreign calls, the report said.For international calls that include one end in the United States, the company does not reveal the identity of U.S. citizens and hides several digits of their phone numbers, which allows the CIA to comply with a ban on domestic U.S. spying, it said.The Central Intelligence Agency could choose to refer a hidden number to the FBI, which could then issue a subpoena demanding AT&T divulge the information, according to the report.An AT&T spokesman did not confirm or deny the program but said the firm acted in accordance with laws in the United States and in foreign countries.“In all cases, whenever any governmental entity anywhere seeks information from us, we ensure that the request and our response are completely lawful and proper,” spokesman Mark Siegel told AFP.But he added: “We do not comment on questions concerning national security.”Without verifying the existence of the program, the CIA said its intelligence gathering does not violate the privacy of U.S. citizens.“The CIA protects the nation and upholds the privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that its intelligence collection activities are focused on acquiring foreign intelligence and counterintelligence in accordance with U.S. laws,” said spokesman Todd Ebitz.The CIA is usually associated with gathering intelligence through spies in the field while the NSA focuses on eavesdropping abroad and code-breaking.But an unnamed intelligence official told the Times that the CIA sometimes needs to check phone records in “time-sensitive situations” and be able to act with speed and agility.The report offered the first indication that the CIA had a role in electronic data collection as leaks from a former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, have sparked a global firestorm around the NSA’s digital spying.U.S. Internet communications firms have voiced complaints that they are legally required to cooperate with the NSA’s “data mining.”Industry advocates have expressed concerns that NSA spying revelations could turn consumers in the U.S. and abroad against U.S. technology companies. Facebook Comments No related posts.
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Daniel O’Donnell is coming out of retirement – just months after he said he was planning to put his feet up.The chart-topping star revealed the news as he received the Freedom of his native Donegal at a glamorous occasion on Friday in Lifford.The singer, 50, has been taking things a lot easier after he announced he was taking a break after three decades of performing. His fans around the world rushed to see the star after he said he would not be playing any more long tours.But Daniel reassured fans that he never planned to hang up his microphone just yet.‘When I announced I was planning to take things easier, some people said that I was retiring.“That was never the plan. I just wanted to take things a little easier after being on the go for so long. “I’ll be back next year with a full tour of Ireland. I think I have a few good years left yet,” he said.A genuinely overwhelmed Daniel was surrounded by family and friends including wife Majella and mother Julia, 92, when he became just the fifth person to be presented with the freedom of Donegal.Daniel joked it was an honour to hear so many good things said about himself which most people would only hear at their funerals.Among those who said they were sorry they could not make it to Donegal to see Daniel honoured was his personal friend Sir Cliff Richard who sent his apologies.However one person who was there was the legendary Dublin singer-songwriter Pete St John who penned The Fields of Athenry. Pete said he travelled to Donegal to congratulate his friend.“We all only wish we had Daniel’s fan-base. The real reason I came here is to see if he will sing one of my songs,” laughed Pete.DANIEL REVEALS HE IS COMING OUT OF ‘RETIREMENT’! was last modified: June 25th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)