Cursed with insomnia yet again tonight, I set into a kind rambling, free form link-hopping spree that landed me on the Washington Wire page of the the WSJ (I know, I know.)
I really can't believe no one has this up here, so maybe my search skills are lacking. If so, my apologies, but either way you really gotta check this out.
The Wire's Siobhan Gorman writes that NSA is coming clean about one aspect of their warrantless wiretapping operations: LOVEINT, or put another way, a couple of guys who "on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said."
She wants us to know that it doesn't happen a lot, and that "official estimates" figure on around "a handful" for the past 10- years, and they think we should know about that.
At this point, if you are getting worried that someone might get in trouble for this, you are on the right track, because NSA thinks LOVEINT is "willful misconduct."
Please proceed over the edge to find out what happens next...
I'm guessing this is another example of limited hangout, aka The Washington Wire page gathering up the biscuits and delicately arranging them around a bed of roses for Mr. DeLong upon exit from their ovens. And if this isn't limited hangout, it should be.
But that's not even the best part. Get a load of this:
In the wake of revelations last week that NSA had violated privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions in a one-year period, 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.I'm not going to use any more of Siobhan Gorman's prose here because the above blockquote includes three whole sentences, two of which begin with the word "He", and I've heard WSJ can be particular about Fair Use. Rest assured I WANT to quote more of the blog because, frankly, it's a welcome comic relief to the entire illegal wiretapping Iceberg™. This article is also dryly unnerving in it's complicity, so if I were you I would stop right here and read it for yourself if you haven't already.
Anyway, Gorman is letting us know that John DeLong wants us to know that “NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities”. She also wants us to know that NSA wants us to know that people in charge at the adult table will handle the matter “as appropriate.” when things like this come up.
Also, too this spying by spooks on their significant others "involved overseas communications, officials said" she said. So I wouldn't worry about LOVINT having a domestic partner, so to speak. Or at least it wasn't mentioned in the Wire posting, so I'm assuming any stateside affairs, Grindr hookups, and pornographic selfie addictions would be safe from prying eyes. After all, that would be illegal, right? And according to the WSJ this shit gets self-reported anyway. And when you take responsibility for your actions and self report? Your ass gets terminated, tout de suite. So there you have it.
But in case you were starting to lose hope that this diary would provide meat and potatoes along with the shit-biscuits, Dianne Feinstein has something to say about all of this. She wants everybody to know, through the WSJ, that NSA told her committee about all of this. They did. And what they told her was that these cases were "isolated" and that "in most instances" American data was not involved. Quote (and I think this should be ok):
“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,” she said. “When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected.”So, you see? It's not all doom and gloom around here on this subject? It's really going to be ok. You just have to accept the fact that, well, people are pigs and they are gonna do this stuff. At least they turn themselves if for it, right? I mean, it's not like anyone would be tempted to go beyond this and say, create “selectors” in PRISM for, oh I dunno, married men who work in Washington DC and have adult dating aliases that traffic in the CraigslistM4M section, or whatever equivalent peccadillo you may prefer to imagine? Right?
So thanks to Siobhan Gorman for pointing all this out for us. I was starting to feel things closing in around this subject and it's nice to know everything doesn't have to be as serious as all of that. And special thanks to DiFi for her cameo and for helping to understand us that with a little patience, and a LOT of good luck, things are gonna work out just fine.
Lets be civil to each other.
3:48 PM PT: Hey, thanks to everyone who showed up for this. I appreciate all of you and I hope you had fun. I figure there's no reason to tolerate this bullshit from our government, and that in the meantime while we sort out our democracy, we can keep some perspective whilest among the weeds.
Lets be civil to each other.