Army General Keith Alexander has served as the director of the U.S. National Security Agency for eight years and through three administrations. His standing with the public was called into question this summer after documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the NSA’s massive dragnet surveillance programs that monitor American’s phone calls, Internet usage and personal communications.
NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told Reuters, “This has nothing to do with media leaks. The decision for his retirement was made prior, an agreement was made with the (secretary of defense) and the chairman for one more year — to March 2014.” However, the move likely comes in part as an attempt by the Obama administration to regain public trust in light of the NSA scandal that rocked his credibility this summer.
Poll data from September 10 revealed that 61 percent of Americans say the Obama administration has “not lived up to their expectations on transparency,” and only 33 percent of Americans believe that NSA data collection is “needed to fight terrorism.”
Along with General Alexander, who plans to step down by March or April 2014, NSA deputy John “Chris” Inglis will retire by the end of 2013. There is no word yet on who will replace the controversial spy master, but RT reports that Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, the commander of the U.S. Navy’s 10th Fleet and the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, may be a frontrunner to bring his technological and tactical expertise to the agency.
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