All sizes | Woman Silhouette on the East River - Greenpoint, Brooklyn | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Spying on love interests made up most of the "willful misconduct" by NSA officers over the past decade, the agency said.

A National Security Agency audit made public last week revealed that the agency violated privacy laws nearly 3,000 times over a one-year period.

In its defense, the NSA claimed that the bulk of those incidents were unintentional errors by analysts, and only a handful of "willful" violations have occurred over the past decade. But what motivated NSA employees to act outside the law in those cases?

According to the Washington Post, they wanted to spy on their love interests.

In fact, tracking one's partner or spouse is so common that the intelligence community has a code word for it: LOVEINT.

NSA officials didn't tell the Post exactly how many instances of LOVEINT they've seen, but they did say the cases typically involved international communications, and that the employees in question were all punished or terminated.

Most of these rogue employees weren't caught red-handed—they actually tend to turn themselves in rather than risk failing the agency's routine polygraph tests.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed to the Post that the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs, knew about 10 cases of intentional NSA privacy violations in the past 10 years. 

"In most instances," she said, no American's personal information was involved. Both Feinstein and NSA officials have also claimed that none of the incidents violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which regulates the NSA's domestic spying.

Photo via chrisgold/Flickr

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
Layer 8
A female Lebanese news anchor was told to shut up—here's what she did instead
Rima Karaki is a Lebanese TV host who isn't afraid of a fight. Things got heated Monday when Karaki was interviewing Hani Al-Seba'i about the phenomenon of Christians joining Islamic groups like ISIS. Al-Seba’i is a Sunni scholar who fled to London after he was sentenced in an Egyptian court to 15 years in prison for being a part of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The United Nations considers the group to be an affiliate of al Qaeda.
NSA audit finds agency broke surveillance laws thousands of times a year
The U.S. National Security Agency unlawfully sweeps up Americans’ data on thousands of occasions each year, the Washington Post reported.
The Latest From Daily Dot Video

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!