The LOVEINT disclosures have expanded as the NSA Inspector General, in response to a letter from Senator Grassley asking for details of abuses, let it be known that spouses and lovers were often the chosen victims of NSA abusers. In eight of the twelve cases of “intentional and willful misuse” of agency surveillance a significant other of the NSA employee was the subject of the misuse of surveillance.
In one case, a U.S.-employed foreign woman having a relationship with an NSA employee said she suspected her partner of listening in on her phone calls. An investigation found the employee used the NSA system to pull up phone calls of nine foreign women between 1998 and 2003 and listened to the phone calls. The IG also said the employee incidentally pulled up communications of an American on two occasions, as well.
Some of the violations involved listening in on phone calls, and in other instances employees searched email addresses.
They just love too much.
But don’t worry, not every abuse was creepy cyberstalking. Sometimes it was just a matter of convenience.
In one case not involving a romantic relationship, an NSA employee improperly used surveillance to find out more about the U.S. relative of a foreign intelligence target. In another instance, a member of the military used the NSA’s system to query phone calls to help him learn the language.
Oh, OK. You want to learn a foreign language? Here, just spy on random people’s private phone calls, see what you can pick up. You want to become an interior decorator? Just break into some people’s houses, look around.
Photo by Hohum under Creative Commons license.