The Wall Street Journal just reported that some National Security Agency officers (spies) have use their agency’s spying superpower to overlook on their love interests on different occasions.
NSA officials admitted that this was not a common practice and estimated a few cases over the last decade. Indeed, it was common enough to lead to a specific spycraft label called LOVEINT. Spy agencies do often name their different types of intelligence collection with the suffix “INT,” for instance “SIGINT” will refer to collecting signals intelligence or communications; and “HUMINT” for human intelligence or spying.
Even if the “LOVEINT” is said to be a mere misconduct of some NSA employees (spies), it became a fun on Twitter, with two related hashtags attracting much attention and smile: #NSAlovepoems and #NSAromcom.
In the series of recent revealed cases that NSA had violated privacy rules nearly 3,000 times in a one-year period, NSA Chief Compliance Officer John DeLong emphasized that those errors were not intentional. He did say that there have been “a couple” of willful violations in the past decade. He said he didn’t have the exact figures at the moment. NSA recently confirmed that there have been “very rare” instances of willful violations of any kind in the past decade, and none have violated key surveillance laws. “NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities” and responds “as appropriate.”
Officials said that the LOVEINT violations involved overseas communications, e.g. spying on a spouse or partner. In each case, the employee was punished with either an administrative action or contract termination.
Most of the incidents with spies were self-reported, officials said. Mrs Dianne Feinstein who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of “isolated cases” that have occurred about once a year for the last decade, where a few NSA staff members have violated NSA procedures. She said “in most cases”, the violations did not involve any American citizen’s personal information. She also confirmed that there was no evidence of any violation of the NSA’s domestic surveillance infrastructure, which is governed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act law.
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