NSA punished analysts over privacy

The National Security Agency took disciplinary actions against analysts who intentionally overstepped their legal authority, according to a government official familiar with the actions.

The agency informed Congress of the privacy violations and subsequent punishments, the official said. It is unclear whether any NSA analysts lost their jobs over the incidents. 

The NSA acknowledged on Friday that analysts had deliberately violated privacy rights multiple times in recent years. The agency had previously said that other legal violations were inadvertent and largely the result of technical glitches.

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"Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found, but none under [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] or the Patriot Act," the agency said in a statement. "NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations – responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities." 

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Friday that there has only been about one case per year of intentional privacy violations. 

"These incidents were not related to FISA, and in most instances did not involve an American’s information. I have been informed by NSA that disciplinary action has been taken, and I am reviewing each of these incidents in detail," she said. 

“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. When errors are identified, they are reported and corrected,” she added.


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