You've heard of PRISM, you've heard of XKeyScore, but have you heard of ... LOVEINT? That's the NSA's nickname for when officers use their spying abilities to snoop on their partners and spouses. Amidst recent revelations last week that the NSA violated privacy rules some 3,000 times in one year, officials have acknowledged that some officers have engaged in LOVEINT, but say there has only been a handful of cases in the last decade, the Wall Street Journal reports. Usually the incidents are self-reported—coming out in a routine polygraph, for instance—and officials say the employees (well, those they know about) have all been disciplined or fired.
Dianne Feinstein says the NSA has told the Senate intelligence committee that "isolated cases" of LOVEINT have occurred about once a year, but that there's no evidence that any of the cases involved the agency's surveillance systems. "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," says Feinstein. "When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected." (Read more LOVEINT stories.)