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NSA Officers Sometimes Spy On Love Interests

timothy posted 1 year,27 days | from the lives-of-others dept.

Government 384

Jah-Wren Ryel writes "The latest twist in the NSA coverage sounds like something out of a dime-store romance novel — NSA agents eavesdropping on their current and former girlfriends. Official categories of spying have included SIGINT (signals intelligence) and HUMINT (human intelligence) and now the NSA has added a new category to the lexicon — LOVEINT — which is surely destined to be a popular hashtag now."

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384 comments

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I am shocked shocked I tell you (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663589)

Really is anyone surprised?

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663599)

Wasn't the oversight supposed to prevent this?

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (5, Informative)

jamstar7 (694492) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663669)

Really is anyone surprised?

Wasn't the oversight supposed to prevent this?

Didn't the FISA court just reveal a few days ago that they can't do proper oversight on NSA? And nothing from the House Intelligence Committee either...

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663905)

the House Intelligence Committee either...

Now there is an oxymoron nominee for the millennium. The US Government is out of control and President "Hope & Change" Obama implements his real agenda, namely oppression of everyone not merely the black man. Osama bin Laden was more successful than even his more poppy seed induced dreams could have possibly envisioned.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664065)

I'm sorry, but this is bullshit.

Where were you racist idiots when these programs were being started by President Bush? Seems to me that it was only when we got a black President that suddenly these things became a problem. And none of you folks ever bother to mention that these policies were started by the GOP. Most of us on the left never wanted these policies in the first place, but it's not like voting GOP would have offered a better situation. So, we mostly voted for somebody that was going to fix something. Which he did, DOMA is over, DADT is over, ACA passed and he hasn't started any pointless wars.

But, unfortunately, he's staying the course on things that I would rather he not stayed the course on. But, you're a naive moron if you think that Romney or McCain wouldn't have. And in all likelihood they would be abusing it even worse.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (3, Insightful)

smpoole7 (1467717) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664143)

> Where were you racist idiots when these programs were being started by President Bush?

Disagreeing with someone over policy has nothing to do with racism. That's a red herring whose only purpose is to stifle discussion. The truth is, those who keep playing that card are just crying "wolf," and it will eventually lose any meaning whatsoever.

For the record, I DID disagree with Bush on this endless surveillance, even though I'm a conservative.

And there were some of us who were hoping that Obama would do BETTER. And you can't understand their disappointment?

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664149)

I'm sorry, but this is bullshit. Where were you racist idiots when these programs were being started by President Bush? Seems to me that it was only when we got a black President that suddenly these things became a problem.

Please cut out the ridiculous accusations of racism. Whether you noticed or not, there has been a fairly sustained clamor about the Patriot Act, beginning with that ill-conceived law's passage. The clamor is louder during the current administration because (thanks to Snowden) we know more about the abuses now.

There's an unfortunate pattern of responding to any criticism of President Obama with "racist! racist!" whether there's any evidence of racism or not. There are plenty of valid criticisms of Obama and his administration, several of them potentially impeachable offenses (yes, including starting an unauthorized war). But getting back on subject, since there isn't any racism evident in the comment to which you were responding, I'd thank you kindly if you would just shut your big mouth.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664261)

You might wish to read the post he was responding to... That specific post definitely has racial undertones.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664255)

I'm sorry, but this is bullshit.

Yes it is, but you posted it anyways. There was *more* of an outcry when this stuff happened under Bush, because the press hated him. Not enough to get it stopped, alas. But we have to keep trying. Focusing on somebody almost six years gone will be a great way to ensure that nothing continues to get done.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (5, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663963)

According to TFA most incidents were "self reported", meaning someone failed a polygraph. Since polygraphs are bullshit we know a lot of times the criminal abusing this power got away with it.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (5, Insightful)

arobatino (46791) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664019)

According to TFA most incidents were "self reported", meaning someone failed a polygraph. Since polygraphs are bullshit we know a lot of times the criminal abusing this power got away with it.

Not to mention that it's not in the NSA's self-interest to learn about these cases, since it makes them look bad. So they probably don't ask more than the most perfunctory questions in this area.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663677)

> Wasn't the oversight supposed to prevent this?

Yes it was. According to the article most of these were only found out during un-related lie-detector sessions, not by any auditing system. It poses the question - how many other cases of abuse have slipped by because the employee knew how to fake out the lie detectors?

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (2)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664081)

Probably a significant number. Polygraphs are at best 85-95% reliable, according to supporters, and the real reliability is probably substantially lower for people that have to pass a polygraph in order to get hired. What's worse is tha the type of people that would be engaged in this sort of thing are much less likely to think it's wrong or expect to be caught. If you don't think something is wrong and don't expect to be caught, the likelihood of a polygraph catching you is minimal.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663701)

No, the oversight is to find institutional problems. The IG is to catch individual bad actors. And, apparently, some have been caught.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (5, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663901)

Oversight. Don't you get it at all. You are being handed another charade. NSA is meant to secure and gather intelligence, not act upon it, it was never set up that way.

You are being handed the "BIG LIE", what counts is what other agencies who received private information from the NSA, who had access to the electronic interception established by the NSA, did with that illegally obtained information. They are now looking to through out a few scape goats, a smoke screen to hide the others well beyond the confines of the NSA.

How much information did the US Department of Homeland Security receive from the NSA. What was the nature of the information, who had control over it and what did they do with it. The NSA are a direct feeder of information into the CIA, again, what information was received, who had access and what did they do with it. Next up the FBI, how much were the FBI in bed with the NSA, why did the FBI allow agents of the NSA to freely break the law. What information did the FBI receive and what did they do with it.

Now you would think it would stop there, but oh no, it get's far far worse. It is public knowledge the corporate security contractors had full access to the information being gathered under the NSA auspices. Private for profit individuals with total and full access to all the intelligence information, now what the hell did they do with that information and who else did they give it too. What politicians and their backers had access to what information, to leverage power.

Now you are getting a pretty little song and dance about a couple of NSA agents being naughty, all the while else the NSA provided access too with out any control at all and no record of what they did and Uncle Tom Obama the choom gang coward pretending it all stops at the NSA's door. The intelligence gatherer and not at the CIA's, Department of Homeland Security, FBI's et al (basically the whole US military industrial complex and it's financing banks). Those are the organisations that act upon the information provided by the NSA, they were all in on it, they all knew it was going on and they all had access to the information.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664205)

It is public knowledge the corporate security contractors had full access to the information being gathered under the NSA auspices. Private for profit individuals with total and full access to all the intelligence information

I'm going to need a cite for that because I've been following this pretty closely and this is the first I've heard of private citizens having "total and full access" to the NSA's data.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (4, Informative)

RogL (608926) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664235)

It is public knowledge the corporate security contractors had full access to the information being gathered under the NSA auspices. Private for profit individuals with total and full access to all the intelligence information

I'm going to need a cite for that because I've been following this pretty closely and this is the first I've heard of private citizens having "total and full access" to the NSA's data.

Wasn't Snowden a corporate security contractor?

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664243)

There is indirect evidence that the DEA, and certain other law enforcement agencies used this information as well. This would of course lead you to the conclusion that the rights of Americans have been violated in a very bad and covert way.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663665)

No one is surprised, but what about spying on other people's sexting (or whatever you call it when people send revealing pictures of themselves via email). If you really want the general public to get properly outraged over this stuff, forget the 4th Amendment, and find cases of Carly sending interesting pictures of herself to her boyfriend, with the expectation of privacy (forget the technical aspects of whether that expectation is reasonable - human decency says you don't read other people's mail).

It's actually better if Carly, and a bazillion others are at least 18. Otherwise it would degenerate into a discussion of "child pron", whether it was reported, individual criminals at NSA, yada, yada, yada. 18+ women sending revealing pictures of themselves to boyfriends/husbands, and people at the NSA checking them out, is exactly the sort of Peeping Tom behavior that would get the whole country up in arms.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (4, Interesting)

mickwd (196449) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663743)

Check out the this article [bbc.co.uk] and search for the section on Geoffrey Prime and read what he got up to.

And remember his "data collection" was done on pieces of card, and was before the days that most adults/parents carry mobile tracking devices around with them so their locations could be known at most times.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664183)

He was sent to jail for 35 years for spying and 3 years for the assaults on young girls - which says a lot about the priorities of the British establishment at that time.

Oddly enough I think that still matches the priorities... Except spying is now called hacking or whistle-blowing.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663699)

Obama [youtube.com] told us that program is not being abused. If the American people examine what was going on the people would say it was ok, they are following the law, they would be ok with what is going on.

I'm having a hard time finding a statement by Obama since reelection where he told the truth. Am I the only one that finds that odd?

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663823)

I'm having a hard time finding a statement by insert name of a President here since reelection where he told the truth. Am I the only one that finds that odd?

Ya, you probably are. What, did you think he was Black Jesus or something? He's a fucking politician, they all lie like dogs. An honest man would never make it on the ballot much less win an election.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663831)

Obama [youtube.com] told us that program is not being abused. If the American people examine what was going on the people would say it was ok, they are following the law, they would be ok with what is going on.

I'm having a hard time finding a statement by Obama since reelection where he told the truth. Am I the only one that finds that odd?

Do you REALLY believe any intelligence agency is going to tell the truth to their supposed bosses? TLAs, especially those involved in espionage, deal in lies every day. They call it 'disinformation' or 'security procedures', no matter what their country of origin or who the ultimate boss is. Just look at the CIA under Dubyah. They got told to 'find the WMDs' and came up with the sketchiest evidence possible, then sold it to the powers that were because if they found nothing, they woulda been fired and replaced by somebody who could. Look at Team B under Reagan. They indulged in wishful thinking and stacked 'what ifs' to the point where their final report was total paranoia and science fiction, but it convinced Reagan et al to continue pressuring the Soviets and kept the Cold War going for another decade. Team B wasn't CIA professionals, but the CIA was watching over their shoulders and learned from them that the bosses want to hear what they want to hear, so if you wanna keep your jobs, tell them what they want to hear.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664033)

Surprised? No, just waiting for more to come.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664145)

Hopefully. If everyone knows how bad an idea this is, but we all just go along with it because meh, then that doesn't really say good things about our ability to make decisions.

It wouldn't be a whole lot better if most people went along with the NSA because they honestly believed it was necessary and wouldn't be abused, but at least that would mean that stories like this coming out could make them realize it was a bad idea and change it. Wheras if it's just apathy, then that's not going to be changed as easily.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (4, Interesting)

smpoole7 (1467717) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664163)

> Really is anyone surprised?

No, and I'm afraid that endless surveillance is going to become the "New Normal."

If something can be done, it WILL be done, regardless of any laws passed to stop it. People are curious, people want power, people want control. For better or worse, the Digital Age is upon us, and all the laws in the world are not going to stop a determined person from digging into your data if he/she wants to. They'll just find better ways to hide what they're doing.

Think about it. The government's approach to this has been to punish the LEAKERS who've brought attention to the surveillance. Not to make any meaningful changes in the surveillance itself. That, right there, proves my point.

Re:I am shocked shocked I tell you (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664269)

The only thing remaining is whether anyone has used it for political advantage yet. At that point, we'll have literally hit all of the, "what could possibly go wrong?" steps available.

I actually expected it to take a few more years before it degenerated to this. Naive me.

ctrl-c (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663593)

I had to do a SIGINT on previous girlfriends too.

Re:ctrl-c (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663605)

and on your mum

Re:ctrl-c (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663829)

She wanted a SIG 69 but I had to SIGHUP that one.

Re:ctrl-c (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663687)

Doing ctrl-c on girlfriends, followed by ctrl-v: that's where babies come from.

Re:ctrl-c (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663735)

Doing a ctrl-x on girlfriends is where sanity comes from. Maybe Sheldon Cooper has it right, but most of the rest of us suffer from certain weaknesses.

Re:ctrl-c (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663737)

Doing ctrl-c on girlfriends, followed by ctrl-v: that's where babies come from.

*woosh*

Re:ctrl-c (2)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663931)

I had to do a SIGINT on previous girlfriends too.

I have never needed to use such drastic measures. Usually a SIGTSTP has been enough.

Re:ctrl-c (4, Funny)

jittles (1613415) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663955)

I had to do a SIGINT on previous girlfriends too.

I have never needed to use such drastic measures. Usually a SIGTSTP has been enough.

Hans Rieser found that SIGKILL was the only way to work things out with his wife... Did I go too far? No seriously, sometimes SIGSTOP isn't enough and they try to continue to lurk as zombie processes.

Re:ctrl-c (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663977)

I had to do a SIGINT on previous girlfriends too.

Joking aside, it's a well-known fact dating back to well before the roman empire that family is a vulnerability that can be exploited in warfare. The NSA, like any good intelligence agency, keeps track of all exploitable weaknesses in both its own agents as well as the enemy's.

I don't think this is particularly newsworthy -- the problem with the NSA isn't their capabilities, but rather who they're using them on. Very often, it seems the NSA is being run more like the FBI; chasing down the political adversaries of the current majority party, doing DNA analysis on dog shit (true story -- Hoover did it), and investing an inordinate amount of resources in suppressing speech unpopular to the current majority party. The NSA may have once been a first-rate intelligence organization but nowadays they're looking more KGB-ish... overconfident and leaking like a mcdonald's coffee cup during morning rush hour. They really have only themselves to blame for this sorrid state of affairs.

Re:ctrl-c (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664063)

Girlfriend? Rumor has it, it was a SIGTRAP.

I don't believe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663609)

Nobody breaks office policies

Yet again... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663613)

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton

Re:Yet again... (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663679)

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton

Yeah, but we need the electricity.

Humans (2)

TCM (130219) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663633)

Humans pursuing their petty little human needs when noone is looking? YOU DON'T SAY!

Separation of power was not thought up by idiots, you know.

Re:Humans (3, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663643)

Actually it's not that unlikely that your girlfriend/boyfriend might be a terrorist if you work for the NSA. Just think of it, the perfect way to infiltrate the system. If anything this should be mandatory procedure for all NSA employees.

Re:Humans (2, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663685)

You would make a brilliant bureaucrat/politician. I'm not saying you are one, or even that you have the slightest inclination towards such sleazy behavior, but you certainly understand how they think.

Re:Humans (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664217)

Actually it's not that unlikely that your Slashdotting colleagues are bureaucrats/politicians. Just think of it, the perfect way to infiltrate the opposition. When they get control of enough karma they can begin manipulating which opinions get heard and which do not by a segment of the pro software-, speech-, and political-freedom movement.

Re:Humans (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664015)

That's not the way background checks for security clearances work. You don't snoop on your own wife/girlfriend/whatever. The agency has people that check out your activities and associates from time to time for any potentially compromising (blackmail potential) situation or connections to foreign intelligence or criminal groups. Other information uncovered is rarely fed back to the employee.

Re:Humans (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663761)

Yeah this is exactly why people have a real problem with ubiquitous spy networks. They will inevitably be abused. What happens when the government changes and the new guys don't mind using this apparatus to suppress political dissent? What happens when dissent has been suppressed, the administration becomes the aristocracy and the president effectively becomes king? It's happened before in many places, and the only lesson to take away from all this is that the price of freedom is indeed eternal vigilance.

Re:Humans (3, Informative)

hazeii (5702) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663941)

Em, it's already being used like that [washingtonsblog.com] .

Re:Humans (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664055)

This is something we should all understand: There's effectively no difference between "actual abuse" and "a system that enables abuse with no accountability". If you have a system that enables abuse without the proper safeguards against abuse, then it's only a matter of time before people start taking advantage of the situation.

Foreign girlfriends (1)

kanweg (771128) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663635)

They must have been foreign girlfriends, so what is the problem?

Bert

Re:Foreign girlfriends (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663695)

Or officers stationed abroad, dummy.

Only _girl_friends? (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663649)

I guess there's no one spying on their boyfriends at the NSA then.

Re:Only _girl_friends? (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663689)

Good point. Probably the only ethical thing about the NSA is that they're an equal opportunity employer.

Re:Only _girl_friends? (0, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663995)

Both Moses and George Washington used spies, and Benjamin Franklin opened other people's mail for intelligence purposes. Do you think it is too much to ask that the US and its allies be allowed to use them in our age to prevent a surprise nuclear attack, and maybe the occasional 9/11 or bombing? Or is that just right out? Is the only "ethical" thing to do simply carting away large numbers of bodies after an attack and rebuild the airplane / stadium / city, assuming there aren't new overlords at that point who prevent it? What about the rights of the victims? Isn't the right to life the most basic right of all? What would you do for them, to prevent their being killed? Or does that not matter? Would you even approve of Thomas Jefferson's actions [city-journal.org] to prevent Americans from being taken into slavery, or as hostages?

Re:Only _girl_friends? (1)

cosm (1072588) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664059)

Both Moses and George Washington used spies, and Benjamin Franklin opened other people's mail for intelligence purposes. Do you think it is too much to ask that the US and its allies be allowed to use them in our age to prevent a surprise nuclear attack, and maybe the occasional 9/11 or bombing? Or is that just right out? Is the only "ethical" thing to do simply carting away large numbers of bodies after an attack and rebuild the airplane / stadium / city, assuming there aren't new overlords at that point who prevent it? What about the rights of the victims? Isn't the right to life the most basic right of all? What would you do for them, to prevent their being killed? Or does that not matter? Would you even approve of Thomas Jefferson's actions [city-journal.org] to prevent Americans from being taken into slavery, or as hostages?

Your strawman needs new clothes, he's becoming very recognizable. Not drinking enough of the koolaid? Or is that you COINTELPRO?

Re:Only _girl_friends? (0)

jpublic (3023069) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664203)

Isn't the right to life the most basic right of all?

I do not want the government to violate our rights to keep us safe. And to begin with, it isn't the government that's violating that "basic right" of which you speak, so it's an utterly irrelevant point when you're talking to people who don't want the government violating our rights.

Re:Only _girl_friends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663731)

So far no cases involving women snooping on boyfriends have been made public.

Re:Only _girl_friends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663765)

It's a national sexual insecurity issue.

Re:Only _girl_friends? (1)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663935)

I think the parent was implying something else.

Don't ask, don't tell, don't spy.

Re:Only _girl_friends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664007)

So far no cases involving women snooping on boyfriends have been made public.

But what about boys spying on their boyfriends?

Don't worry about the Government (4, Funny)

puddingebola (2036796) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663657)

Don't worry about the government spying on you, it may just be that special someone listening to all your calls.

True Lies (1)

voul (2800127) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663659)

Didn't Harry Tasker invent LOVEINT?

Re:True Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663967)

Tell it to the MAFIAA, maybe THEY can sue the NSA for copyright infringment...

Child Molestors Sometimes Spy on Future Victims (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663707)

Spying on love interests is one thing, but spying on innocent children to plan sexually assaulting them is a different category. It's happened before [bbc.co.uk] , and I don't understand how people can still defend these monstrous surveillence activities.

Why won't someone think of the children when it's finally appropriate?

Pink Floyd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663713)

Us, us, us, us, us.... and them, them, them, them, them... after all, we're all just ordinary men...

So ladies... (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663753)

So ladies, that boyfriend you have, the one with the steady career in government, who seemed to understand you like no man ever had before...

Its OK: Obama says you can trust Gov (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663769)

No need to worry. US presidents don't lie. Especially not the Nobel Peace prize winning ones. So it's Ok. Because if you can't trust the government... Well then we really are really screwed.

Most of the KNOWN incidents were self-reported (4, Insightful)

arobatino (46791) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663781)

Most of the incidents, officials said, were self-reported. Such admissions can arise, for example, when an employee takes a polygraph tests as part of a renewal of a security clearance.

Which is exactly what you'd expect if the probability of getting caught is close to zero and the true number of cases is much larger.

There IS a law against stalking. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663783)

And it seems that the boys who work at Ft. Meade may have
been breaking this law.

Of course they are above the law, aren't they ? Time will tell, just
as it did with Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Goering, and the rest.

termination (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663797)

In each instance, the employee was punished either with an administrative action or termination.

termination ? you keep using that word ...

True Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663809)

Well, I would, if my girlfriend were Jamie Lee Curtis. 20 Years ago.

All IT staff do this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663817)

The NSA scandal is nothing special, it happens everywhere.
Every IT staff in every company, but also the large email providers, facebook/google/Yahoo/MS/... employees etc.
Spying on their bosses, managers, fellow employees, family, politicians, ...
The more nerdy your IT staff, the creepier their spying will be. But bosses will do the same if they can (spying via cameras, reading employees emails etc).
I have encountered this in every company I ever worked in, so now in my own company I know what they are doing.
For them it's revenge of the nerds : finally they are in a position of power over the successful people around them.
The hypocrisy of the /. crowd it quite stunning : most of them would do exactly the same if given the chance.

Re:All IT staff do this (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663989)

BULLSHIT! You are an unethical pervert if you look at another person's email without their explicit consent. When I was doing email systems administration and/or migration projects sometimes it was necessary to examine the format of some of the messages flagged as corrupt to ensure the recovery tool had fixed the issue if possible. I scanned the appropriate messages for format but never remembered the actual content even in those case where reading the entire content of the message was necessary. I held myself to a much higher ethical and professional standard.

To the surprise of no one (3, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663819)

Corrupt is as corrupt does. They've already demonstrated a profound moral bankruptcy and a willingness to collectively serve only themselves, this just a matter of scale.

Re:To the surprise of no one (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664035)

It's not corruption. It's human nature. Opportunistic spying happens everywhere: IT departments, hospitals, police departments, ISPs, ...

We are the engineers. Why don't we remove the temptation by making it technically difficult to eavesdrop?

Instead, we are logging everything, adding call-home features and making home gadgets remote-controllable. For all you know, your phone camera or laptop is videofilming you live just because some Apple engineer/NSA technician can.

Re:To the surprise of no one (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664173)

It's not corruption. It's human nature. Opportunistic spying happens everywhere:

It is human nature to want to have sex with that goood looking member of your preferred target group, however, doing so without their permission is beyond corrupt. You can't simply do/take everything you desire, to do so corrupts your social conscience.

Men In Black (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663843)

...
And that's why birds do it, bees do it
Even Tommy Lees do it
Let's do it, let's spy on love...

(With apologies to Cole Porter)

Their girlfriends (2)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663867)

But what about intercepting phone sex calls of troops with their loved ones? And not just intercepted, shared between them when the conversation was hot.

And they did that with soldiers, in an environment where their superiors were more or less aware of what they were doing, so they restricted themselves in what they could do. What kind of respect you can expect from them? What kind of respect should they (as people and as institutions) deserve?

Oh, this is for your safety, so all is justified, except that the most monitored countries includes China, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, and Brazil, This is more about starting a war (and/or stealing IP) than defending from terrorists.

The scariest sentence... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663877)

"Most of the incidents, officials said, were self-reported." So their "significant care to prevent any abuses" consists primarily of "tell us when you've done something bad."

If they actually had strong internal checks in place, the majority of abuses would be detected by those systems, not by self reporting.

Nature of holding secret information (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663881)

The Scientologists do it even worse. Hundreds of hours of polygraph testing, where you're compelled to reveal your crimes and thoughts against your superiors, and it's all recorded and sent to the central offices, the "Sea Org", where it is used against you by the "Guardian Office" to "dead agent" you if you ever rebel. These practices were all well documented in the book "the Scandal of Scientology", whose author was so abused by the cult that the founder's wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, and her minions went to jail for it.. Other cult members who've left since then have testified to the continuing abuse of these "auditing" materials by current members of the cult.

Stupidly easy to game the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663919)

Have your friend from Saudi Arabia call your girlfriend, or anyone for that matter. Wide open door.

I once commented that the NSA was like a stalker. (3, Funny)

dicobalt (1536225) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663923)

I didn't mean to be so correct.

More evidence (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663961)

I keep saying setting rules agents "are supposed to follow" isn't good enough, and should be constitutionally invalid in the computer age.

The rules against warrantless searches have to do with political spying, not mundane spying, even on girlfriends by jackasses. If they can get away with this, operatives working for someone powerful can get away with tapping an opponent's phones.

They need security software that cannot be bypassed that logs everything in incorruptible logs for future review, and auto-stored at multiple sites without delete communication (someone at any given site cannot send out a signal to alter or delete logs at other sites.)

This is not technically that hard to do but it needs to be done.

Re:More evidence (3, Interesting)

jpublic (3023069) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664213)

They need security software that cannot be bypassed that logs everything in incorruptible logs for future review, and auto-stored at multiple sites without delete communication (someone at any given site cannot send out a signal to alter or delete logs at other sites.)

No. We need to get rid of the entire organization and get rid of the system they have in place to wiretap to begin with.

Simple fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663965)

Right now the NSA analyze the communications of people three or less degrees of separation from person of interests. Obviously the simplest proactive fix would be implement rules automatically enforced by the computers that prevent employees or contractors from accessing any information from anyone with three or less degrees of separation from themselves. It's easy to implement, the fact they didn't and don't just show NSA's upper management is not really interested in stopping these practices.

Fire them immediately (5, Interesting)

Tippler (3027557) | 1 year,27 days | (#44663973)

"administrative action or termination." ...OR termination? Every single one of them should have been fired at the least. If I looked up an ex girlfriend on the electronic medical record system I'm logged into right now, I would be subject to a $50,000 dollar fine and a year in prison even after being fired ( AMA HIPAA penalties page [ama-assn.org] ). This kind of abuse of access to privileged information similar to a HIPAA violation, except double illegal since most of the surveillance has no legal basis either.

Re:Fire them immediately (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44663999)

And if you don't comply when an FBI agent sends you a NSL asking for the medical records of his ex-girlfriend, you also go to jail.

How long were their prison sentencies? (2)

mwasham (1208930) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664003)

none I know..

'Skeeping my secrets safe tonight (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664027)

And nobody does it better [youtube.com] ...

This isn't a "twist", it's PR (4, Interesting)

ljw1004 (764174) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664047)

This isn't a "latest twist in the NSA saga". It's a transparent PR fluff piece.

Obviously the PR division at the NSA figured out a plan to trivialize the revelations. John DeLong at his press conference comes out with "Oh yes, once or twice in the past decade we have broken the rules, but it's been for lighthearded laughable trivial matters like LOVEINT. Ha ha ha, what a joke. My bad. We're all good now, right?"

Of course the media will lap this up. And it distracts attention from the real systematic unconstitutional behavior of the NSA, and the fact that the NSA's overseers themselves believe their oversight to be inadequate.

Still just a distraction from... (5, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664083)

Still just a distraction from STOCKINT. Follow the money. The first time I considered such massive surveillance, front-running market events was what came to mind. This is just like anything else in politics. Get people thinking about sex to distract them from the real crimes.

Re:Still just a distraction from... (2)

ron_ivi (607351) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664219)

And if I understand right - is doing it to foreign markets even legal by design?

Sex is the key (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664085)

Clinton murdered plenty of people in a cruise missile attack in Sudan - US reaction - Yawn.
Clinton had consensual sex with a willing female - US Reaction - Impeach, impeach, impeach.

But but ... oversight?!?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664087)

How is this possible after all oversight NSA goons and political stooges get on TV and tell us is going on?

At least Obama's dog Bo got to Martha's Vineyard (1, Interesting)

mc6809e (214243) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664109)

If Obama can arrange to have his dog Bo airlifted to Martha's Vineyard [telegraph.co.uk] , he can arrange to visit with the NSA to make sure they're following the rules.

C'mon, Mr Prez!

Re:At least Obama's dog Bo got to Martha's Vineyar (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664167)

Anything else that Rush is talking about that we need to hear about at least twenty more times?

Facebook and OKCupid made it all obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664113)

Why do I need to monitor all of the communications, when Facebook will tell me where she will be and who she was with? OKCupid tells me more about a person than a job interview or dating.

The Police (3, Funny)

Dripdry (1062282) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664189)

Wow. "Every Breath You Take" was NEVER more true (and creepy) than now.

Shiver

In Other News... (2)

NotSanguine (1917456) | 1 year,27 days | (#44664209)

Teenage boys are horny. Film at 11:00.

MiB (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44664257)

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha.

But seriously, why does this remind me of the scene in Men in Black where K is using the organization's equipment to keep tabs on his old girlfriend.

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