After eight years at the helm of "America's secret cyber army", NSA head Keith Alexander, has decided to spend more time with his family and less time with yours, and is stepping down. According to US officials, the director of the NSA and his deputy are expected to depart in coming months, in a move that almost certainly would not have happened without the involvement of America's most infamous whitsleblower currently self-exiled in Russia, Edward Snowden in a development which according to Reuters, "could give Obama a chance to reshape the eavesdropping agency."
It is unclear what he would "reshape" it into: at last check the Stasi headquarters in Berlin did not have quite the capacity to house the Cray supercomputers needed to make sure that anyone and everyone caught selling stocks gets a lifetime audit guarantee from the IRS.
We are confident, however, that with the surge in government-employed architects coming back to "work" from their 17 days paid vacation, someone will have an idea or two.
Army General Keith Alexander's eight-year tenure was rocked this year by revelations contained in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency's widespread scooping up of telephone, e-mail and social media data.
Alexander has formalized plans to leave by next March or April, while his civilian deputy, John "Chris" Inglis, is due to retire by year's end, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It also wasn't clear who would replace the man who once upon a time made his office into a replica of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, although there certainly are candidates.
One leading candidate to replace Alexander is Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, currently commander of the U.S. Navy's 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, officials told Reuters. The 10th Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command both have their headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, between Washington and Baltimore. The NSA is also headquartered at Fort Meade.
There has been no final decision on selecting Rogers to succeed Alexander, and other candidates may be considered, the officials said.
More importantly, the question is whether with America's domestic epsionage and email address book collection efforts exposed for the entire world to see, courtesy of Edward Snowden, will Obama decide to engage in a strategic shift in policy, or merely double down and install RFID chips into every newborn American.
While both men are leaving voluntarily, the dual vacancies give Obama an opportunity both to install new leadership following Snowden's revelations and to decide whether the NSA and Cyber Command should have separate leaders.
Cyber Command, which has grown significantly in recent years, has the authority to engage in both defensive and offensive operations in cyberspace. Many NSA veterans argue that having the same person lead the spy agency and Cyber Command diminishes the emphasis on the NSA's work and its unique capabilities.
Rogers has been the Navy's top cyber commander since September 2011. Prior to that, he was director of intelligence for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and for the U.S. Pacific Command.
Rogers is "a good leader, very insightful and well thought of within the community," said a U.S. defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Rogers has worked hard to ensure that the Navy has sufficient sailors trained to take on added cyber responsibilities for U.S. Cyber Command, the official said.
Sorry, we forgot to add "rhetorical" before question.