John Quiggin points us to this Washington Post report: By analogy with the classic military terms SIGINT (signals intelligence) and HUMINT (human intelligence), there is now the NSA-internal abbreviation LOVEINT:
The LOVEINT violations involved overseas communications, officials said, such as spying on a partner or spouse. In each instance, the employee was punished either with an administrative action or termination.
NSA released a statement saying that “NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities” and responds “as appropriate.” I contend that if you respond “as appropriate”, you don’t understand the concept of “zero tolerance”. “Administrative action or termination” doesn’t sound like Edward Snowden’s experience of NSA’s zero tolerance — depending on what they mean by “termination”.
But it gets better.
NSA Chief Compliance Officer John DeLong emphasized in a conference call with reporters last week that those errors were unintentional. He did say that there have been “a couple” of willful violations in the past decade. He said he didn’t have the exact figures at the moment.
So, he’s the Chief Compliance Officer of our super math spies, but he can’t keep track of numbers bigger than two.
But it gets better. “Most of the incidents, officials said, were self-reported.” Is this supposed to reassure us about the fundamental honesty of NSA employees? Here we have a secret government agency, accused of abusing its power. We are told that there have been only “a couple” of abuses, all of which were revealed by the perpetrators themselves. Might a more robust investigation — you know, maybe not third-party investigation, but at least second-party?
At least we know Snowden wasn’t the only one being granted too much trust.