News that National Security Agency officers sometimes abuse domestic intelligence gathering practices to monitor potential love interests has led to a sweeping, satirical response by The People of The Internet. On Tumblr and Twitter, the #NSAPickupLines and #NSALovePoems hashtags have sparked all sorts of creativity from users poking fun at the potential intrusion of the NSA into our personal lives.
"Roses are red, violets are blue, your pin number is 6852," reads a popular "NSA love poem" spreading on the internet right now.
The parody @PRISM_NSA Twitter account, named after the electronic surveillance program leaked by Edward Snowden, has been pickup line central for much of the weekend, so you can keep up with the tweets there. Some of our favorite spy-themed pickup lines and love poems, below:
This was all inspired by the news reported on Friday by The Wall Street Journal that National Security Agency officers were spying on their exes or love interests, and enough of them were doing it that the practice got its own Orwellian label within the agency: "LOVEINT".
"NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency's authorities" and responds "as appropriate," the agency said in a statement.
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BLOCK: For weeks now, we've been hearing about the fallout from Edward Snowden's revelations about just how much information the National Security Agency is collecting. And now, there's a new wrinkle. NPR's Steve Henn joins me now to talk about that. And, Steve, we're talking about a report in The Wall Street Journal on Friday which said that were people within the NSA carrying on extracurricular activities with their spying.
STEVE HENN, BYLINE: That's right. The NSA admitted Friday that a handful of spies or analysts over the past decade had used their high-tech tools inappropriately and committed what they called willful violations of collection procedures. The Wall Street Journal's fleshed out that report a little bit, saying most of this was motivated by analysts taking a look at what their ex-lovers or spouses or partners were up to.
BLOCK: And how common was that?
HENN: Well, the NSA issued a statement that said these violations had been very rare. But according to the journal, it was common enough that the practice earned its own moniker within the NSA: LOVEINT. As opposed to signal intelligence, love intelligence. The thing is, you know, you see this kind of thing pretty frequently in big databases and surveillance.
BLOCK: And what were the consequences at the NSA?
HENN: Well, again, according to The Wall Street Journal, folks received either an administrative slap on the wrist, some may have been fired. There were no charges filed. Still, this has become a big embarrassment for the NSA. If you spent any time on Twitter over the weekend, you may have seen jokes and hashtags pop up like #NSALovePoems or #NSAPickupLines.
BLOCK: Yeah. I was looking at some of these over the weekend, and here's one, a haiku about the NSA on Twitter, and it's completely blacked out. It's been redacted.
HENN: Yeah. My favorite was this simple classic: Roses are red, violets are blue, your password is 6852.
BLOCK: Some NSA love poetry. Steve Henn, thanks so much.
HENN: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.