Sit down for this one. You're not going to like it:
Members of Congress recently questioned Robert Litt, the top lawyer for the Director of National Intelligence, about the National Security Agency's program of collecting communications records involving millions of Americans.
Litt said this: "Using the word 'abuse' in the context of the operation of the surveillance program is a little bit like saying the Department of Health and Human Services is abusing people because of the fact that the Obamacare websites don't work properly." He then tried to blame NSA abuses on complex technology not working as it should.
We suspect DHHS officials would argue with that. Their website wasn't designed (we assume) to spy on people, after all.
But "blame the computer" just won't do when it comes to the NSA. The NSA has spied in detail on many people, including journalists. Again, it has collected some records on millions of people, both foreign and abroad, including the leader of Germany.
So yes, Mr. Litt, abuse is the right word for it.