It's not just the NSA that is spying on Americans; it seems that other agencies are making the most of what digital communications can enable. The DEA, for example, has access to all the phone records of AT&T subscribers going back a couple of decades.
On demand, DEA agents can request phone records for as long back as 1987. It's not just AT&T subscribers that can be targeted; any call that goes through an AT&T switch is logged and made available.
The DEA is working
very closely with the phone company and is paying it to have employees working alongside drug-enforcement units. The partnership is called the Hemisphere Project.
The program is much bigger than anything the NSA has ever run, at least as far as we know. The US government has confirmed both the scale and the details of the Hemisphere Project, but has said that the program had been crucial in the fight against drugs.
It has also explained that the data was stored by AT&T and not the US government, and that it was only available through a subpoena issued by a federal agency, and not a court.