Spies in Love

NSA surveillance abuses

After a report in August revealed more than 3,000 violations of privacy rules by employees of the National Security Agency (NSA) in a one-year period, NSA Chief Compliance Officer John DeLong hurried to reassure reporters that only "a couple of" those infractions were willful. Pressed to clarify about what happened in those cases, the NSA admitted that it knew about several instances where employees were using the agency's incredible spying power to check in on the communications of overseas love interests.

The agency jokingly refers to these violations as LOVEINT, a play on the operation names for HUMINT (human intelligence) and SIGINT (signal intelligence). Backers of the NSA's controversial digital surveillance practices were inclined to brush off concerns about these "isolated incidents."

"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," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told The Wall Street Journal. "When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected."

The key phrase: "When errors are identified." The NSA says that the LOVEINT revelations were primarily self-reported-usually in the course of a polygraph administered as part of the security clearance renewal process. The agency admits that it lacks the controls to know how common such violations really are. Many people have administrator or auditor status within the NSA's voluminous databases, which makes it difficult or impossible to trace their actions.

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  • Rrabbit||

    If you believe that only "a couple of" those infractions were willful, I have a bridge to sell you.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Tell me more about this bridge you are selling.

  • ||

    The agency jokingly refers to these violations as LOVEINT, a play on the operation names for HUMINT (human intelligence) and SIGINT (signal intelligence).

    HA HA HA!!! What maroons.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "only "a couple of" those infractions were willful. Pressed to clarify about what happened in those cases, the NSA admitted that it knew about several instances where employees were using the agency's incredible spying power to check in on the communications of overseas love interests."

    It's a good thing they were "overseas" love interests because, otherwise, we might have to worry about the NSA abusing the rights of American citizens.

    I'm sure NSA employees would never willfully break the rules to track their love interests here in the United States. ...only the ones in foreign countries! And we should take their word for that.

    We should take their word for that for the same reason we believed them when they said that they were only tracking phone calls to people overseas.

    We should take their word for it for the same reason we should believe that the NSA employees who broke the "rules" were disciplined, fired, and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  • Sevo||

    "It's a good thing they were "overseas" love interests because, otherwise, we might have to worry about the NSA abusing the rights of American citizens."

    I'll say! That certainly puts my mind at ease.
    Why, just imagine if they were to use those resources to spy on US citizens! The citizenry would be up in arms! Heads would roll! The President would be impeached!

  • Ken Shultz||

    You're right, they probably don't have much to worry about anyway, but...

    There was a really good article in the NYRB a while back about how to deal with the Chinese political police:

    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....se-police/

    And the point was that, for whatever reason, even though they know there's no democracy, and that their bosses power is pretty much absolute, the thought police are still very much susceptible to public embarrassment.

    I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Because I don't know whether that's something Obama has to worry about at all. That may be one of the things that can make Democracy so tyrannical sometimes...

    Obama isn't worried about the charge of being undemocratic, and maybe that makes him immune to embarrassment about abusing people's rights. In China, where it really is undemocratic, the officials are extremely sensitive to the charge of being undemocratic. They work so hard to project this image of being on the side of the people--and resting on that illusion makes them more vulnerable I suppose.

    Anyway, I'd like to think the NSA and Obama were still susceptible to embarrassment, but maybe they're beyond that now. They have representative democracy and anti-terrorism to shield them, and so they're not ashamed.

    Maybe they already know they're naked, and the joke's on me, but I'd like to think they're still susceptible to embarrassment.

  • sarcasmic||

    ...but I'd like to think they're still susceptible to embarrassment.

    A sense of shame is not a quality one often finds in people who seek power.

  • DenverJay||

    I hate to keep beating a dead horse (but the life ones run away), but as long as the media is controlled by Marxists, and as long as that media controls the narrative, how the hell are you going to embarrass these people? They tell blatant lies and get away with it, while the other team is roundly accused of lying when telling the truth (see Presidential debates).

  • DenverJay||

    er, LIVE ones?

  • Ted S.||

    And yet, when you suggest that the way to reduce government abuse of power is to reduce how much power government has in the first place, most people will look at you as if you're crazy.

  • juris imprudent||

    of COURSE the only solution to abuse of power is MORE power. What part of that doesn't make sense to you?

    Now, where did I put that baggie and tube of model glue?

  • DenverJay||

    This is why we need to outlaw models! oh, won't somebody please think of the children?

  • OneOut||

    This.

  • Dave Krueger||

    ...the NSA admitted that it knew about several instances where employees were using the agency's incredible spying power to check in on the communications of overseas love interests.

    Overseas, my ass.

  • ||

    What they meant by 'love interests': hot European models these losers were cyberstalking.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They just meant that they don't want the media reporting that any abuses happened to American citizens.

    Krueger is right. It's just BS.

    If they're looking at what eurotrash models are doing overseas, they're looking at what their ex-girlfriends are doing, too.

    This is actually a common problem with your local police.

    http://tinyurl.com/pdfvx5r

    There are three primal drives: food, sex, and voyeurism.

  • DenverJay||

    And, if you are creative, you can combine them all into one great night of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives"

  • ||

    We should file an FOIA request to find out just what they dug up...for a friend.

  • Sevo||

    Update:
    CNN says the administration says everything's fine:
    "Deadline Day: Obama administration 'on track' for website goal, agency says"
    You don't think CNN could, maybe, check and find out?
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/30/.....index.html

  • Ken Shultz||

    They checked with two sources: the White House press secretary's office and the communications office for the DHS.

    What are you, a climate change denialist or something?

  • Sevo||

    Hey, if Obo says it's right, it's good by me!
    I vote the straight D ticket!

  • ||

    Gimme the D!

  • MJGreen||

    The same agency that said it was on track for the October 1 launch?

  • DenverJay||

    Please see above comment about media, Marxists, etc.
    Thanks, feeling lazy

  • Sevo||

    We'll see how snobbish certain schools can be:
    "They see the grease smudged across her jeans and they think "redneck." [...] "They think monster truck driving is brainless. They think the trucks are our toys, that we just want to go out and smash things up."
    OK, girl hot-rodder:
    "Now imagine, for a moment, how those eyes might widen further if they saw the e-mail Rosalee opened two weeks ago and got a look at her SAT score: 2160."
    Wonder if schools accept monster-truck driving as a sport?
    http://www.sfgate.com/sports/a.....to-5524210

  • Mokers||

    We have not reached peak tractor pull.

  • Almanian!||

    Traktur Pullz

    Spelleeng - h0ow duz it werk?

  • SIV||

    her SAT score: 2160

    Kids sure are smart these days. I remember when nobody could break 1600!
    Must be that Flynn effect in action.
    Damn kids got so smart they were able to do away with those sexist, racist easy antonym analogies too.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Not sure if serious, but they take three 800-point tests these days.

  • SIV||

    That's one way to get the scores up!

  • Sevo||

    SIV, her math score is jaw-dropping.
    I'd grab that kid in a new york minute to do calcs I need.

  • SIV||

    I'm not mocking her, just the changes to standardized tests.

  • Irish||

    Only one third of Americans say the average person is trustworthy, down from 50% in 1972.

    Huh. It's almost like the more involved coercive power is in our lives and the less individuals actually choose to help one another, the less people feel trust in their communities.

    That can't be true though. If it were, government would have found a magnificent way to solve the problem.

  • sarcasmic||

    You mean people who demand that government be charitable with other peoples' money aren't very charitable when it is their choice?
    It's almost as if they believe everyone else is like them, and thus no one would ever voluntarily help anyone else under any circumstance if not for the coercive power of government. So anyone who opposes government charity opposes all charity.
    I think this explains Tony.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Sarcasmic, I am deeply saddened to have to say, but I do believe you are correct. Too-too many of us have trouble imagining that others run on different motives than we do… Then worse yet, too-too many of us can NOT imagine that others are more GENUINELY benevolent, broad-minded, selfless, etc., than we ourselves are… I have seen it at work. At this one work-place, I had a degree, my co-worker did not. The boss invited anonymous feedback… I gave it, and spoke up for those who are held back for lack of some stupid degree. The boss assumed that the input had come from my co-worker, not imagining that it might be me, one who had a degree… Sad but true…

  • juris imprudent||

    Usually the same reason they don't want other people to own guns, because they wouldn't trust themselves with guns.

    Projection, how does it fucking work?

  • Akira||

    There are the progressives who don't trust themselves with guns ("If I had a gun, I'd end up having a bad day and killing my co-workers! Therefore, nobody should have guns at all!")

    Then there are also the ones who DO trust themselves with guns very much. They just believe that gun laws should only apply to us lowly unwashed masses, not them. Because they are on a higher plane of existence. Look up "Dianne Feinstein CCW" and "Carl Rowan." Interesting reads.

  • DenverJay||

    Hey, WTF ever happened to that statist cock-sucker, anyway? I haven't seen him in months. Maybe he is too busy training new drug dogs who won't alert on pot or something

  • Jordan||

    Government always aims to destroy civil society because there is no greater threat to it.

  • ||

    ^This

  • Homple||

    Back in DDR times the East Germans didn't trust each other much, either.

  • Sevo||

    For good reason.

  • ||

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yup.

    Mr. Lanza, 20, could not connect with people but obsessed over “Dance Dance Revolution,” an interactive video game he played in the lobby of a nearby movie theater, spending as long as 10 hours at a time trying to follow dance routines as they flashed on the screen.

    Jesus.

  • SIV||

    That's how you train to shoot first graders.

  • ||

    No one needs to dance more than 2 hours

  • Homple||

    They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

  • Rhywun||

    OMFG that was disturbing. I have only ever seen that being done on a South Park episode.

  • np||

  • Rhywun||

    I. don't. get. it.

    But it does make me LMFAO, so there is that.

  • DenverJay||

    Also, this is why Japanese don't get laid.

  • Akira||

    They're one of the most densely populated countries on Earth... Obviously SOME of them are getting laid.

  • DenverJay||

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/fem.....g-sex.html

    And its from the Daily Mail, so you know it must be true!

  • DenverJay||

    I don't think its fair to have the railing. A true dancer wouldn't need it

  • ||

    several instances where employees were using the agency's incredible spying power to check in on the communications of overseas love interests

    They were just doing reverse IMBRA.

  • Almanian!||

    Oregon - Oregon State wins for "Dorkiest Uniforms".

    Mich State won. OSU/MI surprisingly competitive! OSU will win.
    Back to the game!

  • Homple||

    Admit as little as you can consistent with publicly known facts and do so as slowly and inconspicuously as possible.

  • Sevo||

    So, is the "FIX" in?
    "Unclear yet if crucial overhaul of Obamacare website a success"
    Reuters isn't jumping up and down, and there's a reason:
    "But some information technology experts said the metric cited by the agency was misleading, noting that a claim of anything below 100 percent success was impossible to verify.
    "It prevents anyone from the outside from contradicting them," said Jonathan Wu, co-founder of the consumer financial website ValuePenguin. He said only those working on the website know whether the 90-percent figure is accurate."
    Yes, O'bo isn't about to let just anyone decide whether it's a total screw-up or not; only he gets to choose!
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....5M20131130

  • VG Zaytsev||

    If only it was some important web site, like one selling Palin memorabilia, the media would be able to do their own tests to verify the 90% success rate.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Why in the world did Michigan go for two? They put the onus of winning on their own team succeeding on an extraordinary play, and at home no less.

  • juris imprudent||

    No confidence in the kicker for OT and their defense couldn't stop the run. It was a good call.

    Of course I hate college OT rules too.

  • Sevo||

    Well, he didn't mean fixed - fixed. What he meant was it would be fixed if your keyboard complied with the new requirements. Money quote:
    ..."today “is not a magical date.”"
    It's only the date Obo *promised* to have the damn thing fixed.

    Or:
    "On the day President Barack Obama set to have the flawed health-insurance website repaired, his administration said more hardware and software fixes were being made amid reports some Americans were unable to buy plans.
    “Our work will continue into December and beyond to make further improvements,” Aaron Albright, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mail, adding that today “is not a magical date.”"
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....dline.html

  • DenverJay||

    Well, it doesn't apply to me, since I have promised not to pay anymore taxes, but the rest of you might want to start questioning whether April 15th is a "magical date"...

  • Irish||

    Holy cow! The Weekly Standard actually runs an entertaining article!

    After all, Enroll America boasts all manner of nonpartisan credentials. Most of its staffers seem to have worked in the nonpartisan Obama presidential campaigns of 2008 or 2012, often both. Its president, Anne Filipic, served as deputy executive director of the nonpartisan Democratic National Committee, and came here straight from the nonpartisan White House Office of Public Engagement. The nonpartisan Obamacare czar, Kathleen Sebelius (whom Filipic also worked for), has admitted putting the arm on companies to make donations to Enroll America, sparking several nonpartisan congressional investigations.

    That last paragraph is probably the best thing written in the Weekly Standard by anyone not named P.J. O'Rourke.

  • ||

    Salon wonders: Where are the left-wing superheroes?

    The main problem is force: sheer physical force, which lies at the heart of the superhero myth, something Steven T. Seagle observed nicely in “It’s a Bird…”, his poignant autobiographical graphic novel about his reluctance to write for a Superman comic, in which he points out that Superman triumphs by being able to move faster and hit harder than everyone else: essentially a fascist concept.
    [...]
    Alan Moore attempted to bring this to our attention in his masterpiece “Watchmen,” but to his chagrin it was simply absorbed into the geek mainstream. The comic book intended to question the dubious right-wing nature and unexamined fascistic assumptions of superhero narratives ended up being made into a film by Zack Snyder. Capitalism, of course, has an advantage over fascism: it has survived longer because it can incorporate criticism and pseudo-criticism. “Iron Man,” for instance, begins with the premise that high-tech weaponry is indeed a Bad Thing, but its solution is that the guy who built it should have a conscience. Then its use is just cool. Just as Superman’s triumph is due not to heroism but to his physical strength, the successes of Iron Man and Batman are due to their equipment.

  • Irish||

    Just as Superman’s triumph is due not to heroism but to his physical strength, the successes of Iron Man and Batman are due to their equipment.

    You mean Superman, Batman and Iron Man are only successful because of their willingness to resort to violence and threats of violence?

    Who says there are no progressive superheros? I'm pretty sure Che Guevara, Alinsky, the Weather Underground, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Bloomberg, unions, Occupy Wall Street and the California State Legislator have a similarly positive view of using violence against the opposition.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is so silly to argue that Batman and Iron Man have expensive gadgets therefore they are carrying water for wealth or capitalism. They have gadgets because it is a way to make people super. It is similar to 'exposure to radiation,' 'magic' and 'from another planet' in that it is simply a device to explain the super of super-heroes.

    Do not misunderstand, the right likes to read too much into comics as well (some of the silliness over the recent depiction of Muslim super-heroes or Superman renouncing his American citizenship come to mind). It is certainly a problem with partisans of all stripes to constantly imagine convoluted, conspiratorial themes behind everything.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    These people should read the things they pontificate about. My library had a reprinting of the first 50 or so Superman comics. Crude by today's standards the really interesting thing for me was that Superman was depicted as essentially a social vigilante infused with leftist, New Deal political leanings. In one story he takes the owner of a munitions factory and makes him fight on the front lines of a war he sells arms in. In another he plucks a wealthy mine owner from a cocktail party and forces him to labor in one of his unsafe mines. To the extent that FDR's New Deal had strong fascist tendencies then I guess you could say Superman was a fascist, but he was hardly of the 'right wing' variety.

  • 0x90||

    WE DO OUR PART.

  • Boisfeuras||

    That's because fascism is a left wing ideology.

  • DenverJay||

    Yes, categorizing fascism as "right wing" was one of the most devious accomplishments of Western Marxists, allowing them to tar their opponents with the actions that were actually carried out by their Fellow Travelers, or at least their physic brethren.

  • ||

    I find it hilarious that he raises this criticism:

    Fascism also reduces the role of anyone who isn’t Superman to that of an adoring onlooker. Anyone who has ever daydreamed about heroic activities as a child might remember the passive role the imaginary spectators take on while you rescue them, display superpowers or battle your antagonists. As China Miéville said of Frank Miller’s earlier celebrated comic-book miniseries “The Dark Knight Returns”: “The underlying idea is that people are sheep, who need Strong Shepherds.” Throughout Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the people for whom Batman is fighting are absent. There are some awed children, and a couple of people foolish enough to think that they could dress up as Batman, but they put in no more than fleeting appearances.

    Really, what is modern progressivism if not the idea that stupid poor people need a strong shepherd to protect them from soda, Wal-Mart, and cigarettes?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And if you watch the films spoke of a very different picture can be found. In The Dark Knight the people of Gotham are in a real sense the real heroes, they defeat the Joker's ultimate prediction when they refuse to blow up the inmates (and vice versa) during the evacuation. That is the moment the Joker is defeated; he has Batman pinned down and predicts the explosion; when it does not occur he stops pressing his advantage just long enough for Batman to turn the tables on him. And in the third film quite a bit of time is spent detailing the heroism of everyday Gothamites in resistance to Bane's occupation of the city in Wayne's absence.

  • DenverJay||

    And it is amazing that the same arguments must be fought every generation. The arguments about the wise elite shepherding the citizens go back at least as far Plato's Republic.
    Meanwhile, over the weekend I was arguing with people who seem to have learned nothing from the failure of the U.S.S.R. and central planning. I swear they sounded like caricatures, or characters straight out of a particularly bad Ayn Rand novel, bleating about fairness, greed, and evil corporations. Only 20 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, and people have forgotten what the Cold War was all about. Of course, I blame the Marxists in charge of education.

  • ||

    Iron Man, for instance, begins with the premise that high-tech weaponry is indeed a Bad Thing, but its solution is that the guy who built it should have a conscience. Then its use is just cool


    That's a weird thing for Slate to criticize. That's what they want, right? A bunch of centralized power controlled by a TOP MAN?
    Oh wait, Iron Man is a rich guy and not the government, so it's bad.

  • ||

    Oops, Salon. Whatever, same difference.

  • ||

    “Iron Man,” for instance, begins with the premise that high-tech weaponry is screwdrivers are indeed a Bad Thing, but its solution is that the guy who built it should have a conscience to not shiv people with them. Then its use is just cool.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Salon wonders: Where are the left-wing superheroes?

    What about Sandra Fluke and her super-power of fucking a world wide religious organization in a single session.

  • 0x90||

    The agency admits that it lacks the controls to know how common such violations really are.

    And you guys do what for a living, again?

  • Irish||

    Union Thugs flock to the Amazon page for Scott Walker's new book to give it bad reviews...without having read it.

    I haven't read it, but think you should know that most of these reviews are written by people who have not yet read the book (negative and positive reviews). A union Facebook page is calling on its members to negatively review the book in hopes of lowering the overall rating - even cheering that it went from 2.5 stars to 2 stars . That's pretty sickening. Review the book on its content, not your political affiliation.

    My favorite comment from the union's Facebook page:

    You'd think the Kochs could afford to pay for a few more positive reviews. They're slipping.

    Or maybe, just maybe!, the Kochs were never actually that powerful and you're just a gibbering paranoiac who needs to rave in the general direction of a nonexistent boogeyman because you aren't capable of stringing together consecutive thoughts without being distracted by something shiny.

    Just a thought.

  • Whahappan?||

    They also can't conceive of their political opponents not resorting to dirty tricks, or having morals and a standard of fair play, since they have none. As many have said many times, it's always projection with the left.

  • Metazoan||

    They also can't conceive of having actual, legitimate opposition. The idea that such a thing exists, never mind that it might be even larger than them, is so terrifying they've blacked out the possibility in their minds.

  • ||

    Francisco Raccosta sleeps with the piggies

    A group of Calabrian mafia assassins beat a rival with a spade and fed him alive to pigs, Italian police said after rounding up 20 people for various mob crimes including five murders.

    The murder probably took place in March 2012 when Francesco Raccosta disappeared, but his body has never been found, the court in the southern city of Reggio Calabria said in a statement.

    Investigators arrested one of Raccosta's suspected assassins after they captured him bragging about the hit in a telephone wiretap.

    "It was such a pleasure to hear him scream," the suspect said. "In my opinion, there's nothing left of him ... This pig can really eat!"

    The murder was one of five carried out in retaliation for the killing of boss Domenico Bonarrigo, who was shot three times while driving his car 11 days earlier, according to investigators.

  • ||

    Is it still cannibalism if you eat something that ate a person? I'm asking for a friend.

  • John Galt||

    Phew! Thank Prog Diane Frankenstein has spoken quelling my fears. Just in a nick of time as it was beginning to appear it was possible the NSA was abusing it's ultra-secret, super-massive powers.

  • Sevo||

    Yes, the O'care web site is much improved, according to administration sources, but:
    "In McAllen, Texas, the group MHP (Migrant Health Promotion) found that the website - while improved - still has glitches, particularly at the later stages of the process where subsidies are calculated, according to Rachel Udow, who oversees the program.
    "That was a barrier to paying the first month's premium," she said, explaining that insurance carriers could not determine how much to charge the customer's credit card. "The problem came right at the point of paying.""

    So it looks like the 'user experience' was improved since they didn't arbitrarily get shut off. They just couldn't sign up.
    To Obo, that's "fixed".
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....5M20131130

  • DenverJay||

    And is the site secure yet?

  • aliciaehopper||

    until I looked at the check which was of $4814, I be certain that...my... mom in-law could actually bringing home money in there spare time on-line.. there aunt started doing this for under 20 months and at present cleared the debts on their appartment and got a top of the range Ford Mustang. why not try this out

    ==============================
    http://www.JOBS83.com
    ==============================

  • Major Johnson||

    They can track my mothers emails but they can't track their own employees actions within their own computer system? Not surprising since when subpoenaed for emails in regards to capturing citizens emails they told congress that they didn't have any way to track their own employees emails.

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