While the National Security Agency has been under intense scrutiny for its wide-ranging surveillance of American citizens, it has some smaller-scale problems, too. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that some NSA employees have used the agency’s powerful apparatus to spy on their love interests.
Indeed, the practice has occurred with sufficient frequency to rate its own NSA label: LOVEINT. This is one category of violations that the NSA doesn’t classify as unintentional.
According to an NSA statement, the LOVEINT incidents are “rare” and have been punished “as appropriate.”
“NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities,” the agency said.
Most of the violations are self-reported, sort of. Employees admit to snooping on their significant others when they take polygraph tests periodically required by the NSA.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she was satisfied that the offenses were infrequent, and are handled as they arise.
“When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected,” she said.
They would qualify as human errors.
But maybe we should be assured that there actually might be adequate oversight in at least one area of overreach at the NSA.