LOVEINT is the practice of intelligence service employees making use of their extensive monitoring capabilities to spy on their love interest or spouse. The term was coined in resemblance to intelligence terminology such as SIGINT, COMINT or HUMINT.
The term LOVEINT originated at the NSA, where approximately one such incident is reported per year. In 2013, eight had been reported in the past decade, and they were the majority of unauthorized accesses reported by the NSA. Most incidents are self-reported, for example during a polygraph test. The NSA sanctions them with administrative action up to termination of employment. In five of the cases, the NSA employee resigned, preempting any administrative action. In two other cases, they retired. The worst administrative sanction handed out was "a reduction in pay for two months, a reduction in grade, and access to classified information being revoked." One case was forwarded to the Department of Justice, which declined to prosecute.