Reports in August gave the world a new word in the intelligence lexicon: LOVEINT, the act of illicitly looking up a significant other with the NSA’s surveillance tech. The offenses weren’t supposed to be common, but a steady trickle of them were said to have been revealed over the years. And now, a letter sent to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reveals details not only of people who violated the rules for LOVEINT, but of everyone that the NSA Office of the Inspector General has found to have willfully abused the NSA’s capabilities since 2003.
The full list includes a dozen incidents, and the NSA says it has two open investigations and one case that could be investigated in the future — roughly consistent with the numbers we’ve been given before. But most of the violations were a far cry from “overzealous” attempts to prevent another 9/11. While some cases are nonspecific, at least eight of the twelve involved spying on wives, girlfriends, husbands, or boyfriends. In one case, a subject “queried six email addresses belonging to a former girlfriend, a US person” on the first day he got access to the system. In another, a woman tracked a number in her husband’s phone contacts and listened to his conversations because she suspected him of cheating.
With all the lies that have come from the NSA, why should anyone believe that the “dozen incidents” are the entirety of the abuse? Answer: You shouldn’t.
They don’t want you to know what they’re doing – which is why they’re as secret as possible, beyond what it requires to keep the public at bay.
The “Boy who cried wolf” anyone?