Inspector General: NSA Employees Spied on Partners

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 03:46 PM

By Dan Weil

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Workers at the National Security Agency misused the agency's surveillance apparatus to keep tabs on their romantic partners, the NSA's inspector general says.

George Ellard listed 12 examples of inappropriate snooping in response to a query from Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley for information about "intentional and willful misuse" of agency surveillance capabilities.

Eight of the 12 instances involved NSA employees' snooping on romantic partners. Some of the cases consist of listening to phone calls, while others include searches of email addresses, Ellard said in a Sept. 11 letter to Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Among the instances was one overseas-based agent who tried "out of curiosity" to spy on his own phone and his foreign girlfriend's. His application to monitor his own phone was turned down because he is American.

Another wanted to know whether his foreign girlfriend was involved with any overseas official, which could have gotten him into trouble.

One staffer involved with a foreign woman used the NSA system to listen to the phone calls of nine foreign women between 1998 and 2003.

Grassley said the information shows a need for more oversight of the NSA's surveillance programs.

"We shouldn’t tolerate even one instance of misuse of this program. Robust oversight of the program must be completed to ensure that both national security and the Constitution are protected," he said, according to Politico.

Related Stories:

Scalia Expects NSA Wiretaps to End up in Court
NSA Chief Appeals for Public Support to Keep Surveillance Powers



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