Keith Alexander Offered To Resign, But White House Said No Because It Didn't Want Snowden To Win

from the petty-petty-petty dept

One of the really big questions many of us have had throughout the revelations of the NSA’s scandals is how the hell have Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA boss Keith Alexander kept their jobs through all of this. Clapper has been caught directly lying to Congress. Alexander has been shown to have been extraordinarily misleading, if he hasn’t outright lied. Furthermore, it’s been revealed that both have overseen massive levels of dysfunction and abuse within the NSA (even as they try to spin them as no big deal). And, even among NSA supporters, there’s an argument to be made that Alexander should be fired for having system security so weak it allowed Snowden to do what he did undetected, even months after the basics were revealed. So now it’s come out, via a report by Siobhan Gorman in the Wall Street Journal, that Alexander did, in fact, offer to resign but that the White House rejected the request, because they didn’t want to hand Snowden a victory.

Shortly after former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed himself in June as the source of leaked National Security Agency documents, the agency’s director, Gen. Keith Alexander, offered to resign, according to a senior U.S. official.

The offer, which hasn’t previously been reported, was declined by the Obama administration….

[….] When the leaks began, some top administration officials found their confidence in Gen. Alexander shaken because he presided over a grave security lapse, a former senior defense official said. But the officials also didn’t think his resignation would solve the security problem and were concerned that letting him leave would wrongly hand Mr. Snowden a win, the former defense official said.

That’s a ridiculous reason, if true. And, unfortunately, it shows the ridiculous anti-whistleblower mindset of the White House. It’s not about correcting actual problems, it’s all about making sure that we punish the whistleblower, and don’t let him get any “victory.” That’s a huge mistake that makes the White House look out of touch, out of control and unable to recognize where the real problems are.

President Obama has stated repeatedly that these revelations have resulted in a necessary discussion and that he needs to earn the trust of the American public on the NSA spying. Getting rid of Alexander and Clapper, and starting fresh, would have been a good start to doing that. Playing defense and trying to avoid Snowden “winning” just looks… childish.

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Comments on “Keith Alexander Offered To Resign, But White House Said No Because It Didn't Want Snowden To Win”

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anonymouse says:


Hopefully congress will do something but i doubt it. The leaders of both parties have been using the power of secrecy to get away with crimes and one side is not going to rat the other out if they feel they could be ratted out.

This is one time where the republican right wing could have really casued trouble for the governemetn but alas they are now quiet and not really doing much but sitting back and licking their wounds from the gov shutdown.

Maybe that what why they were allowed to do what they did, to make it harder for them to reveal real problems.

Bob says:

He didn't just win, he continues winning...

Snowden won. Period.

They should accept this, and move into the world with the rest of us where this is an undeniable fact of life.

They were doing something that the majority of people would not support, without justification or oversight.

Snowden exposed them to the world. The world got pissed. That all happened.

Continuing to live in the delusional alternate reality where Snowden is a traitor, and they are going to get to go back to business as usual is only going to drive more people away from the American tech industry.

They need to sack-up, pardon him and bring him home, initiate a national debate on the use and abuse of the programs, and start restoring our credibility as a nation committed to essential, universal, civil liberties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Saying what people want to hear

President Obama stated that yes. Notice there has been no debate from his end on the rights and wrongs, merely support it should continue.

Before Gen. Alexander was put into the position of head of the NSA it was stated that one of the concerns was Alexander tended to ignore laws to get it done and then work on the justification afterwards and this is the mentality now shown to the public from the NSA, who has pretty much broken every law it felt it needed to.

The administration is hell bent on charging the whistle blowers to keep it’s skeletons locked in the closet, not to fix obviously glaring problems. Hide not reveal so as to avoid embarrassment.

It’s a bit late to worry about Snowden’s win, for win he has. He has focused the worlds’ attention on the total ignoring of what the US says it stands for and then what it does. Regaining the public’s trust in government is going to take more than a few words saying so; it’s actually going to have to take action in concrete form addressing these totally outrageous acts by the NSA. Failing to do so shows the public they are correct in the belief their government does not act in their best interests and is corrupt to the core.

There is an election coming and people are saying they don’t want the GOP to win nor the Democrats. Take that for what it is worth.

Rekrul says:

President Obama has stated repeatedly that these revelations have resulted in a necessary discussion and that he needs to earn the trust of the American public on the NSA spying.

Here, let me fix that for you;

President Obama has stated repeatedly that these revelations have resulted in a necessary discussion about how to better hide the NSA’a activities and that he needs to fool the American public about the NSA spying.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Looking at it wrong

If Alexander did resign… what punishment, other than losing that particular job, would that result in? Losing a job(and one that would likely immediately be replaced with a very cushy private sector one), in exchange for ducking all responsibility for the NSA’s current actions, and passing the buck on to someone else? Sounds like one heck of a deal to me, so it’s no surprise that he tried it.

At the same time, if Alexander was out of the picture, then the people would be focusing more on who gave the NSA their marching orders, who authorized their actions, so the FISA court, congress, and the WH… is it any wonder then the WH wanted him to stay where he was, and act as a magnet for criticism?

ShellMG (profile) says:

Making it his business

Snowden’s leaks aren’t hurting national security but dishing a load of butthurt on The Obama White House. In light of the Grand Canyon-sized security holes in the online ACA (among other lesser concerns, like affordable health care), why on Earth should we trust anything they claim? Do we really trust the WH when Obama says, “If you like your privacy, you can keep it. PERIOD” ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Restoring Trust: Ultimate Freudian Slip

If they state their goal is in restoring trust it is always, always, always a sign that they are deeply corrupt and want to avoid real reform like the plague. I have seen it many times before – most often with institutions covering up child molestation for the sake of their reputation.

It is quite revealing about their psychology: they don’t even think about fixing the problem. In fact they care so little about it that they can’t understand why it is important enough to lie about. They just want this embarrassing truth to go away so they can go back to business as usual.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As I mentioned above, keeping him there allows him to act as a lightning rod for criticism, allowing others to dodge full responsibility, so he’s right where they want him currently.

At the same time, letting him ‘retire’, likely into a cushy, lucrative private sector job, would hardly count as punishment for his actions, so if they really want him out, and he really wants out, lets see a freakin’ public trial, let him ‘retire’ into a jail cell for selling out america in exchange for personal power.

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