And that term is LOVEINT. Although the NSA insists that the practice is exceedingly rare, officials claim that these breaches make up most of the incidents of "willful misconduct" by NSA employees.
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog has a piece up about LOVEINT. Although NSA Chief Compliance Officer John DeLong didn't give exact numbers on these types of breaches, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, says they have occurred at a rate of roughly one a year for the past ten years. According to NSA officials, the LOVEINT incidents typically involve an individual spying on a spouse or other partner and involve overseas communication. Feinstein says that there's no evidence that any of these incidents involve the NSA's surveillance infrastructure. NSA officials report that these violations were punished with administrative action or termination.