LOVEINT is the NSA practice of stalking people you are romantically interested in, using the enormous, illegal spy apparatus that captures huge amounts of Americans' (and foreigners') Internet traffic. It is so widespread that it has its own slangy spook-name. The NSA says it fires the people it catches doing it (though apparently it doesn't prosecute them for their crimes), but given that the NSA missed Snowden's ambitious leak-gathering activity, it seems likely that they've also missed some creepy stalkers in their midst.
Unless, of course, you believe that being a creepy stalker is incompatible with wanting to be a lawless spy.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of “isolated cases” that have occurred about once a year for the last 10 years, where NSA personnel have violated NSA procedures.
She said “in most instances” the violations didn’t involve an American’s personal information. She added that she’s seen no evidence that any of the violations involved the use of NSA’s domestic surveillance infrastructure, which is governed by a law known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“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,” she said. “When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected.”
NSA Officers Sometimes Spy on Love Interests [Siobhan Gorman/WSJ]
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I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.