NSA Top Two Officials Retiring Isn't News, But Is An Opportunity To Reshape The Agency

from the but-that-won't-happen dept

There’s been some recent chatter over a Reuters report highlighting that both of the top two officials at the NSA, director Keith Alexander and deputy director Chris Inglis, are retiring in the next few months. Lots of people are misreading this, believing that this is something new, and suggesting that both were either pushed out, or are doing this in response to all of the Snowden revelations. That’s simply not true. Alexander’s retirement has been widely reported since at least June (and has been covered in a number of other publications as well). Both retirements were planned long ago, and appear to be exactly on schedule, rather than as any reaction to things happening in the news.

This is unfortunate, as it really does seem like there should be some punishment for the widespread excesses and abuses that have been revealed by Snowden. However, what is important to recognize is that this does present a real opportunity for the President to reshape the NSA. It seems unlikely that this will happen, but the President has said that he wants to rebuild the trust of Americans in the NSA and the wider intelligence community, and the choices he makes for who will lead the NSA are a real opportunity to at least take a step in that direction. No one actually expects him to, say, pick a civil liberties activist, but there are people out there who have experience in the intelligence community and who also have shown a respect and appreciation for privacy and civil liberties. Furthermore, finding someone who can present the case for reform — one which recognizes that “collect it all” is not just bad policy, but bad for actually finding useful information — would be a big step forward.

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Comments on “NSA Top Two Officials Retiring Isn't News, But Is An Opportunity To Reshape The Agency”

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14 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

One can always hope for the best.

Given Obama’s past acts, I have little hope that this will come out to be for the best. Obama has toted water for the NSA, purposely knew of some of the things that were pulled by the Senate Intelligence before the vote on renewing the Patriot Act, set up Clapper to be in charge of the investigation committee into NSAs excesses, only to have to change that when it was widely recognized by the public for just what it was. To later come in claiming to setup an independent investigation committee, loaded with insiders, answering still to Clapper, means much more in it’s actions as to his viewpoints and willingness to keep the status quo.

Sorry but I have little faith in this government doing the right thing without it having to be forced to do it.

kitsune361 (profile) says:

Looks like...

… It’s time for Alexander to hit the million dollar talk circuit and talk about which “bearded mouth-breathers” on the internet he wishes he could send a drone after. Give those rooms full of lobbyists enough red meat to feed their confirmation bias that the military-industrial complex and government can do no wrong.

Maybe he’ll get an adjunct professorship at an Ivy League school to teach a political science, law, or ethics class.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Looks like...

? time for Alexander to hit the million dollar talk circuit?

Time for the General to hit the talk circuit?

?As NSA Director Alexander Plans Departure, Here’s How Former Top Spooks Cashed In On ‘Retirement’ ?, by Andy Greenberg, Forbes, Oct 16, 2013:

? Luckily for Alexander and Inglis, they have a perk-filled escape route from the NSA controversy: A lucrative position at a Beltway contractor or consultancy. As much as 70% of the intelligence community?s budget?nearly $11 billion for the NSA alone last year according to one Snowden leak?goes to contractors?

To give a sense of Alexander?s choices, here?s how the last four NSA directors have spent their golden years?

No, I don’t expect Alexander the Geek to be hitting the rubber-chicken-dinner circuit.

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