Fallout from Snowden leaks could hinder next NSA chief
Gen. Keith Alexander to depart as NSA director next spring
Computerworld - Whoever succeeds Gen. Keith Alexander as the next director of the National Security Agency will be stuck weathering the fallout from the Edward Snowden media leaks for the conceivable future.
The NSA on Thursday confirmed that Alexander would step down as the agency's director in the spring. Deputy Director John Inglis will also be leaving the agency in January, the NSA noted.
In an emailed statement, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said Alexander's planned exit had nothing do with the Snowden leaks. Rather, his decision to quit was made in March 2013, before the disclosures were made.
"The transition date for Gen. Alexander will occur in the spring of 2014 in accordance with the most recent extension decision made by the Secretary of Defense in March 2013," Vines said.
Vines said Alexander's tenure had been extended three separate times -- in 2009, 2010 and in 2013. "He's served well beyond a normal rotation," and is leaving in accordance with previously announced plans, Vines noted. The NSA is in the process of selecting a successor, the spokeswoman added.
Alexander, who will be 63 at the time of his departure, is the agency's longest serving director. Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. defense secretary during the George W. Bush administration, appointed him director in 2005. He was given additional responsibility as commander of the U.S. Cyber Command in 2010.
Notice of Alexander's departure comes amid continuing public and congressional turmoil over the NSA's surveillance activities. Snowden's revelations about the agency's data collection and data mining practices have fueled widespread privacy and civil rights concerns in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The four-star general has, in many ways, been the face of the controversy over dragnet surveillance practices by U.S. intelligence agencies. Alexander himself has stoutly defended the agency's practices as vital to national security. He has consistently downplayed concerns that the agency may have overstepped its authority in collecting data on U.S. residents.
In testimony before Congress earlier this year, Alexander blasted news media reports as inaccurate and exaggerated in their descriptions of the agency's data collection activities. Alexander insisted to lawmakers that the NSA has the authority to collect all U.S. phone records and put them in a "lock box" from where they could be searched as needed. He maintained that the activities disclosed by Snowden are legally sanctioned and vital to protecting the nation from more 9/11-like attacks.
In comments to The Hill on Thursday, a White House spokeswoman described Alexander's tenure as "extraordinary" and praised him for capably leading the NSA and the Cyber Command through periods of both growth and transition.
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Path Selection Infographic
- Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic
- A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era
- From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs
- If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity... All Government IT White Papers
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- How to Protect Enterprise Data Yet Enable Secure Access for End Users Learn how BYOD, Big Data and the use of rogue applications and devices is putting corporate data at risk, best practices from IT...
- All Government IT Webcasts