The National Security Agency admitted that some officers used their spying capabilities to snoop on their partners and spouses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
It’s happened enough that the practice has its own spycraft title: LOVEINT. The majority of NSA employee willful misconduct amounts to LOVEINT. The agency said it has zero tolerance for rulebreakers. All of those involved were either disciplined or let go.
“Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found,” the NSA said in a statement on Friday. “NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations, responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”
The news comes just after it was revealed last week that the NSA broke federal privacy rules nearly 3,000 times in 2012.
According to NSA Chief Compliance Officer John DeLong, those errors were unintentional.
Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said LOVEINT violations are “isolated cases.” She said “in most instances.”
“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.”
She noted that none of the LOVE violations included the use of the NSA’s domestic surveillance infrastructure, protected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.