Navy Officer Tried To Use The NSA To Tap Her Boyfriend's Son's Phone

news
DOD

A curious Navy officer on deployment in Iraq in 2011 got in hot water with the National Security Agency when she used a top-secret NSA signals intelligence database to snoop on the prepaid-phone habits of boyfriend’s son, according to a just-released, heavily redacted NSA inspector general’s report.


https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4311459-NSA-Illegal-Spying-IG-Report.html

That 2014 investigative report — one of several obtained by Buzzfeed national security reporter Jason Leopold in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the agency — shows the unnamed officer “deliberately and without authorization queried a telephone number belonging to a U.S. person,” in violation of an executive order, DoD regulations, NSA directives, and the federal code. “A Navy Criminal Investigative Service investigation is pending,” the report added.

But Leopold’s narrative of just how the naval officer turned her U.S. Forces-Iraq deployment into a likely Article 32 should be terrifying to anyone who’s ever tried to liven up an info awareness training session:

On June 4, 2011, the first day the Navy officer was granted access to the highly classified NSA signals intelligence database, she underwent a third course on how to use it. During a training exercise, she entered her boyfriend’s son’s telephone number into a search field and tried to access data covering the span of a month on the prepaid telephone number. That phone was also used by other members of her boyfriend’s family, the report said.

“She inputted the number into the SIGINT system because it was the only telephone number she could think of at the time,” the investigator general’s report says. “She could not explain why this telephone number came to mind instead of her own telephone number or any other number.”

But she did not obtain data on the phone number because when she queried the database the computer monitor “displayed a bright red warning sign.”

The Navy officer panicked. But her trainer, an Army officer, told her “not to worry” and to just clear out the various search fields on the database. She thought her training officer would report the incident, according to the report, but he didn’t. Neither did she.

You know those “Let’s never mention this to anyone ever again” moments you sometimes have in the military? If the thing you want to never mention again involves the NSA, you’re going to need a better strategy.

Turns out the NSA still audits its database queries on a monthly basis… so, like clockwork, the agency discovered in July that this naval officer had run a query on her boyfriend’s kid’s prepaid phone that he’d gotten at Walmart. (Gotta love those unredacted report details.)

What happened next? Well, the officer had to go through SIGINT retraining, of course! Beyond that, it’s not at all clear; she got some counseling letters in her jacket, and the case was referred to NCIS; we’ll be following up with them shortly.

But we here at T&P; will note that, according to the NSA IG report, the officer spent the remainder of her Iraq deployment “in a different building… at [REDACTED] headquarters.” And buddy, when you get stashed in [REDACTED] headquarters, you know you done messed up.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove (Lincoln County Sheriff's Office)

A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.

Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.

Read More Show Less
Sailors from USS George Washington (CVN 73) wear-test the I-Boot 5 at Naval Station Norfolk. (U.S. Navy photo by Courtney Williams)

Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.

"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."

Read More Show Less
Senator Jim Inhofe speaks with local reporters at a press conference held at the 138th Fighter Wing August 2, 2018. (U.S. National Guard/Staff Sgt. Rebecca R. Imwalle)

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.

Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senator Rick Scott speaks during a press conference at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, April 29, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Monica Roybal)

The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.

On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."

Read More Show Less
Tech. Sgt. Ryan Cooper, 151st Security Forces Squadron, leads a team of security forces members as they clear a building during a simulated active shooter event October 15, 2019 at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Utah. (U.S. Air National Guard/Tech. Sgt. John Winn)

Security measures at U.S. military bases will be increased in the wake of the deadly shootings at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

In a message posted to Twitter, U.S. Northern Command, known as Northcom, said it has directed its installations to "immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures for their facilities."

Read More Show Less