Feeds

NSA: Yes, some of our spooks DID snoop on overseas lovers

But it's OK, they resigned before we gave them a slap on the wrist

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

NSA spooks used top secret surveillance techniques to snoop on their partners and check out prospective lovers, according to an official admission made to a US senator.

A letter from NSA inspector general Dr. George Ellard reveals that spies "intentionally misused" signals intelligence (SIGINT) techniques to gather information on the objects of their affection.

There are currently two open investigations into amorous eavesdropping and a third case is being considered for further investigation.

The letter from the NSA chief was released in response to a request from Republican Senator Charles Grassley. It had long been known that spooks were involved in "loveint" - or spying on people they fancy - but this is the first time specific incidences have been discovered.

Most of the cases involve spooks eavesdropping on phone calls made by their love interests, who, in the cases disclosed to Senator Grassley, were generally foreign nationals. NSA spies are not permitted to snoop on Americans, although they can legally gather metadata from their communications.

In 2004, one female spook began tapping into her husband's phone calls after finding a foreign phone number saved in his mobile phone. She quit the agency before any disciplinary action could be taken against her.

Another spy "misused the SIGINT collection system" between 2001 and 2003 to target three female foreign nationals, again resigning before he could be disciplined.

A female spy also admitted "it was her practice to enter foreign national phone numbers she obtained in social settings" to make sure she wasn't about to hop into bed with "shady characters". Yet again, she jumped before she was pushed.

NSA director General Keith Alexander appeared in front of the US Senate yesterday and claimed that the small number of sexy surveillance schemes should put the world's mind at rest.

He said: "The press claims evidence of thousands of privacy violations. This is false and misleading. According to NSA's independent Inspector General there have been only 12 substantiated cases of willful violations over 10 years, essentially one per year."

There is no independent verification of Alexander's claim of minimal misconduct within the NSA's omniscient ranks. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Och aye! It's the Loch Ness Monster – but only Apple fanbois can see it
Fondleslab-friendly beastie's wake spotted... OR WAS IT?
Japanese boffin EYES up big bucks with strap-on digi-glasses
AgencyGlass saddles user with creepy OLED display
Sleuths find nosy NORKS drones on the Chinternet
UAVs likely to have been made in the Middle Kingdom
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Dorian Nakamoto gets $23,000 payout over Bitcoin invention saga
Maintains he didn't create cryptocurrency, but will join community
Pirate Bay's 10 millionth upload: Colour us shocked, a SMUT FLICK
P2P badboys show online piracy is alive and humping
Teen girl arrested with 70-year-old man's four inch weapon inside her
Charged with introducing .22 snubbie to penile facility. It wasn't firing blanks
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.