TODAY | September 27, 2013
>>> the national security agency is facing scrutiny over the practices of his employees.
>> reporter: the nsa for the first time admits some employees have spied on their girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives listening to phone calls and checking e-mails without any valid foreign intelligence purpose. it's called loveint, collecting intelligence on love interests and a new letter documents a dozen cases since 2003 .
>> what's clear about the instances of abuse is these have nothing to do with terrorism. this is about individuals prying into the private lives of the people closest to them.
>>> in one case an nsa employee improperly snooped for five years on the phone calls of 9 female foreign nationals. another nsa employee admitted it was her practice to eavesdrop on phone numbers she obtained in social settings. a male employee eavesdropped on his foreign girlfriend's phone calls thinking she was involved with people that might get him in trouble and a female employee listened in on her husband's phone call suspected he had been unfaithful. nsa director keith alexander played down the incidents saying they amounted to one per year.
>> the press claimed evidence of thousands of privacy violations. this is false and misleading.
>> in almost all of the cases the love struck employees re-signed before discipline could be imposed and no one was criminally prosecuted.