The misuse of NSA authorities for romantic purposes, popularly known as Loveint, was cited in various media reports as an instance of widespread compromise of people’s privacy by the NSA. The Wall Street Journal reported in August that NSA officers had used the agency’s “enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests.” But General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, on Thursday described the “claimed evidence of thousands of privacy violations” as false and misleading.
“According to NSA’s independent inspector general, there have been only 12 substantiated cases of willful violation over 10 years—essentially one per year,” Alexander told a hearing on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Authorities of the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Several of these cases were referred to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution, appropriate discipline action in other cases. We hold ourselves accountable very day.”