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N.S.A. Calls Violations of Privacy ‘Minuscule’

Charlies Savage
NY Times [1]
August 16, 2013

The top National Security Agency [2] official charged with making sure analysts comply with rules protecting the privacy of Americans pushed back on Friday against reports that the N.S.A. had frequently violated privacy rules, after the publication of a leakedinternal audit showing that there had been 2,776 such “incidents” [3] in a one-year period.

The official, John DeLong, the N.S.A. director of compliance, said that the number of mistakes by the agency was extremely low compared with its overall activities. The report showed about 100 errors by analysts in making queries of databases of already-collected communications data; by comparison, he said, the agency performs about 20 million such queries each month.

Mr. DeLong, speaking to reporters on a conference call, also argued that the overwhelming majority of the violations were unintentional human or technical errors and that the existence of the report showed that the agency’s efforts to detect and correct violations of the rules were robust. He said the number of willful errors was “minuscule,” involving a “couple over the past decade.”

“No one at N.S.A. thinks a mistake is O.K.,” he said.

Full story here. [1]