Posted Sep 27, 2013 06:30 pm CDT
In the past decade, there have been 12 proven instances of National Security Agency representatives intentionally misusing surveillance tools for personal reasons, the agency admitted this month.
Grassley had asked the agency for details on the matter when in August it acknowledged there had been a “couple” of violations.
The 12 individuals detailed are a mix of civilian employees and military members, the NSA letter states, all of whom willfully misused “signals intelligence” queries. Internally, the agency refers to the queries as “LOVEINT,” which stands for “Love Intelligence.”
One individual performed a query on his girlfriend’s phone number, and reviewed the metadata it returned. Another queried a foreign phone number she found in her husband’s cellphone, resulting in a voice collection of her husband. According to the NSA letter, she was motivated by suspicions her spouse was unfaithful.
Penalties for the actions included pay reductions for a limited time, a reduction in grade and revoking access to classified information, Slate reports. The piece notes that several violations were only revealed after employees disclosed their actions or failed lie detector tests.