- The spying has been given the codename ‘LOVEINT’
- LOVEINT has been going on for at least the past decade
- This revelation is the latest in a summer of disclosures about how far the US government spy program reaches
By Ryan Gorman
PUBLISHED: 23:13 EST, 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 23:14 EST, 23 August 2013
National Security Agency officers have been spying on people they’ve been eying.
NSA officers have been using agency tools to keep tabs on their partner or spouse for at least the past decade, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday. The spying isn’t often, but is has been given its own code name, according to the Journal, ‘LOVEINT.’
Instances of spying have averaged roughly one a year, a mere drop in the 3,000 violations of privacy rules a year bucket the spy agency recently disclosed.
Spy central: The National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland
Among the thousands of violations each year, there have only been a handful of wilful abuses of agency resources in the past decade, according to an NSA statement quoted by the Journal report.
‘NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities [and responds] as appropriate,’ the statement said.
Each known instance of LOVEINT surveillance was against a spouse or partner, the Journal reported, adding that each act was met with ‘administrative action of discipline.’
The incidents are often self-reported and are revealed during polygraph tests administered during the renewal of a security clearance, according to the Journal.
Still not the end: Media reports indicate further disclosures about NSA spying will be made in the coming weeks by both The Guardian and the New York Times
Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) told the Journal that the agency has made Congress aware of the ‘isolated cases’ of LOVEINT and did not involve surveillance of Americans, rather people overseas.
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… when errors are identified, they are reported and corrected,’ Feinstein added.
This revelation comes amid a summer of shocking reports about the amount of surveillance carried about by the federal government and may lead to further disillusionment with the agency.
Additional surveillance disclosures from former security contractor Edward Snowden are expected to be published by both the British newspaper The Guardian and the New York Times in the coming weeks, according to media reports.