Shortly after the Snowden leaks began exposing the NSA's massive collection efforts, the New York Times uncovered the DEA's direct access to AT&T telecom switches (via non-government employee "analysts" working for AT&T), from which it and other law enforcement agencies were able to gather phone call and location data.
Unlike the NSA's bulk records programs (which are limited to holding five years worth of data), the Hemisphere database stretches back to 1987 and advertises instant access to "10 years of records." And unlike the NSA's program, there's not even the slightest bit of oversight. All law enforcement needs to run a search of the Hemisphere database is an administrative subpoena -- a piece of paper roughly equivalent to calling up Hemisphere analysts and asking them to run a few numbers. Administrative subpoenas are only subject to the oversight of the agency issuing them.
It's highly unlikely these administrative subpoenas are stored (where they could be accessed as public records) considering the constant emphasis placed on parallel construction in the documents obtained by Dustin Slaughter of MuckRock -- documents it took the DEA ten months to turn over.
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