“The N.S.A.’s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to documents.
The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon.
While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”
AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in…
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