For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counter-narcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls – parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency‘s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.

The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.

Read the full story in The New York Times