By Brendan Sasso - 08/28/13 04:04 PM EDT
“The American people are questioning the NSA and the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)] court system. Accountability for those who intentionally abused surveillance authorities and greater transparency can help rebuild that trust and ensure that both national security and the Constitution are protected,” Grassley said in a statement.
The NSA acknowledged last Friday that officials had deliberately overstepped their legal authority and violated privacy rights multiple times in recent years.
"Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found, but none under FISA 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.
She said that in most instances, the violations did not involve Americans' information and that the NSA told her that it took disciplinary action.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the violations included some analysts spying on the communications of love interests.