The massive resources of the National Security Agency — the nation's beleaguered spy agency — have sometimes been put to use eavesdropping on agents' love interests, The Wall Street Journal
The NSA even gave such intelligence collection a name — LOVEINT. One unnamed official told the Journal the practice was infrequent — averaging roughly one per year.
But officials told the Journal LOVEINT was the most willful misconduct by NSA workers.
Each instance of LOVEINT spying was against a spouse or partner, and involved overseas communications, the Journal reported. Each was met with "administrative action of discipline," the Journal reported.
Most were self-reported, including those reported during polygraph examinations.
In a statement, NSA said Friday there'd been “very rare” instances of willful violations of any kind in the past 10 years, and that none have violated key surveillance laws.
“NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities” and responds “as appropriate," the statement said.
Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, told the Journal the agency made Congress aware of "isolated cases" that took place about once a year over the last decade.
“Clearly, any case of noncompliance is unacceptable, but these small numbers of cases do not change my view that NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” she said. “When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected.”
Media reports say more spying disclosures from former security contractor Edward Snowden are expected to be published by both The Guardian and The New York Times in the coming weeks, according to The Daily Mail
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