NSA admits to rare instances of analysts willfully violating surveillance authority

The National Security Agency now says that some of its analysts knowingly and deliberately exceeded its surveillance authority on occasion over the past decade, adding that those involved have been disciplined.

The NSA said in a statement Friday that "very rare instances of willful violations of NSA's authorities have been found."

The agency says none of the abuses involved violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the USA Patriot Act. NSA violations of both those laws have been highlighted in the leaks of classified information by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.

The Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed this week on the willful violations. Its chairman says they amounted to roughly one a year.

Obama administration officials and intelligence overseers in Congress have described the violations as inadvertent.