According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, NSA eavesdroppers have used their tremendous, borderline-omniscient surveillance power to eavesdrop on love interests, including spouses, partners, and exes. The NSA is acknowledging that it's happened, too, giving such occurances an official intelligence collection suffix (LOVEINT) and claiming there have been “very rare instances of willful violations of any kind in the past decade, and none have violated key surveillance laws." The NSA states that the employees found abusing their surveillance power for personal reasons were punished either with an administrative action or termination. Though there aren't any specific events cited and it sounds like the instances were pretty rare, it's not to hard to imagine exactly what was going on. For the sake of a comparable analogy, Facebook stalking and reading through a lover's smartphone to read texts/e-mails seem pretty beign.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
In the wake of revelations last week that NSA had violated privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions in a one-year period, NSA Chief Compliance Officer John DeLong emphasized in a conference call with reporters last week that those errors were unintentional. 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 said in a statement Friday 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.”
The LOVEINT violations involved overseas communications, officials said, such as spying on a partner or spouse. In each instance, the employee was punished either with an administrative action or termination.
Personally, I think it'd be fun if someone in Hollywood turn the latest public revelation about the National Security's LOVEINT into a rom-com. Setting: The Maryland 'burbs. Synopsis: After a harsh breakup, a heart-broken NSA agent -- perhaps played by Adam Sandler -- abuses his tremendous eavesdropping power to listen to all of his ex's phone calls and read all of her texts/e-mails/Gchats/Facebook messages, thus never really truly getting over her. In an effort to get him to move on, his fun-loving co-worker -- played by Aziz Ansari -- suggests he use his eavesdropping power on "that hot, overworked real estate agent dimepiece who's always working out at the gym." Jennifer Anniston would be a perfect fit for the role. His creeping leads to a "chance" encounter" that he knew about before hand and sparks fly. In the film's second act, however, his eavsdropping ways are revealed, presumably from a text from his fun-loving buddy co-worker. In a simple twist of fate, this happens when she reads a text from his buddy on his phone. She becomes horrified when he admits he was spying on her all along. "How violating!" she says to her sassy girlfriends at a Silver Spring wine bar. This makes our NSA agent deeply depressed, so he tries to win her back. Ultimately love prevails and they eventually work it out, probably a mutual friend's wedding. Final shot: Laughing together knowing everything's going to be just fine, driving west into the sunset on I-70 for a romantic weekend at Deep Creek Lake.
Heart-warming and hilarious!