NSA quietly dumps 12 years of damaging reports on Christmas Eve

The National Security Agency quietly gave the American people a Christmas gift earlier this week — a list of all the times it wrongly spied on Americans.

The agency released several hundred pages of reports on Christmas Eve, a popular strategy designed to bury worthy news stories. The documents, unveiled as the result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, read like report cards from the Office of the Inspector General to the president’s Intelligence Oversight Board, according to PBS.

Whether by mistake or on purpose, some NSA agents appear to be spying on U.S. citizens in unauthorized intelligence-gathering missions. What’s still unclear — because of heavy redactions — is exactly how often such invasions of privacy occur.

Whether by mistake or on purpose, some NSA agents appear to be spying on U.S. citizens in unauthorized intelligence-gathering missions. What’s still unclear — because of heavy redactions — is exactly how often such invasions of privacy occur.

The reports noted a number of unauthorized collections of emails and phone numbers, surveillance queries on U.S. citizens, incidents of spying on love interests or spouses, and access to searches without security clearance.

In one 2009 example, a U.S. Army soldier used NSA’s intelligence system to “target his wife,” PBS reported in quoting the documents.

The soldier was eventually demoted and had his pay docked.

The reports detailed 12 years of improper conduct, revealing how NSA agents have repeatedly violated U.S. law and their own internal regulations over the past decade.

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