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NSA Director Keith Alexander Is Reportedly Stepping Down

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the so-long-farewell dept.

United States 92

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Keith Alexander will step down by April or May of next year. What's more, the agency's deputy director Chris Inglis also plans to retire by the end of next year, anonymous US officials told Reuters today. Though the news comes in the midst of a global public backlash over the NSA's widespread surveillance programs, it's worth pointing out that Alexander had revealed his plans to retire before Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM in June. Officials didn't give a reason for his departure."

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92 comments

A better idea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151443)

Throw them both in prison for ten years for breaking the law.

Re:A better idea (1)

trum4n (982031) | about 6 months ago | (#45151507)

50 years.

Re:A better idea (3)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151891)

No, reenact the Nuremberg trials!

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152613)

What no personal phone number dob or ssn, I thought this was slashdot.org

Re:A better idea (5, Informative)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45151551)

Silly rabbit, laws are for the poor and weak.

Re:A better idea (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#45152889)

And scapegoats! Don't forget the scapegoating! The NSA could totally scapegoat him. Which would be better than what I'm guessing is going to happen: not a damn thing, and the clear message being sent to all future directors of spy agencies: you are operating utterly above the law. At least if we make one guy go to jail, that will give future directors pause before they ignore the constitution.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45154441)

Not a damn thing? I disagree, I foresee a future Booz Allen Hamilton vice-president. I suspect General Alexander has a very bright future.

Re:A better idea (5, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 6 months ago | (#45151741)

Then throw congress in jail for making it legal. The Patriot act is what you get when you let anger guide your choices.

Re:A better idea (5, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#45151785)

Actually they exceeded even the minor limitations of the Patriot Act. They lied to Congress about what they were doing as well which is a felony. It seems that if you have enough power the law doesn't apply to you nowadays. If Nixon were president today he wouldn't need to resign.

Re:A better idea (3)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#45152137)

Implied recognition that Obama and Nixon are much the same...

Re:A better idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45156751)

No, Bush and Obama are worse. Nixon could only cream in his pants at the thought of what those two get away with. Nixon merely spied on the opposite party, using clumsy physical thugs. Bush/Obama are spying on 300+ million people and that's just the domestic number.

Re:A better idea (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#45157373)

You have to wonder what Tricky Dick could have done in this day and age don't you? Imagine J. Edgar Hoover with all these new toys and info systems. Oh man!

Re:A better idea (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#45157355)

Don't read too much into it. I just grabbed Nixon's name because he was the only President to resign. Obama may be liberal but I don't think he's crooked. He uses the government to rob people which is entirely legal.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45153291)

...It seems that if you have enough power the law doesn't apply to you nowadays. ...

nowadays?

Re:A better idea (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#45157387)

Well a few decades ago you couldn't openly flaunt it. It was necessary to cover things up.

Re:A better idea (2)

jcr (53032) | about 6 months ago | (#45151867)

They didn't make it legal. An unconstitutional act of congress isn't a law, it's a usurpation.

-jcr

Re:A better idea (3, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | about 6 months ago | (#45152819)

It's law, it's just unconstitutional law. And you're right, exceeding their authority is a form of usurpation.

Re:A better idea (0)

Bartles (1198017) | about 6 months ago | (#45153607)

The Patriot act passed both houses, it was found to be constitutional, it's the law. Get over it.

Re:A better idea (3)

intermodal (534361) | about 5 months ago | (#45154159)

Portions maybe, but the convenient loophole these days is to refuse to hear cases by claiming the parties bringing suit lack standing. Especially when the claimants are actively prevented from gathering information to prove standing, though sometimes they just reject that outright in the first place.

Re:A better idea (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#45154523)

Then its time to stop seeing the laws of this country as legitimate. New constitution, the old one FAILED.

Re:A better idea (4, Interesting)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 5 months ago | (#45155217)

Oh dear gods no!!!! Could you IMAGINE the piece of crap constitution that would be written these days?? By committees and lobbyists and lawyers (oh my)??

There are 4 pages and 4543 words in the original, unamended Constitution including the signatures. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world. Compare that to 960 pages for the ACA, about 1300 for a typical Bible, and a whopping 73954 pages for the tax code. I shudder to think what a New and Improved constitution would look like.

Re:A better idea (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 5 months ago | (#45155321)

More than anything else, we need a government reset, not a constitution rewrite. I've been saying since the late 90s that the biggest thing we can do to save our nation from its government is to simply take the time, as a nation, to re-evaluate every part of the US Code and other governmental acts and throw most of them out on the grounds of either being discredited or outmoded based on its intent, or no longer performing its intended function for other reasons. What remains after such a process would definitely need to be rewritten and simplified.

If it takes a lawyer to know whether any laws are broken, it is too complex a legal system for a free society.

Re:A better idea (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 5 months ago | (#45155277)

It's not the constitution that fails when the men who execute it are what broke it. The constitution itself is still fairly solid, our government's adherence to it not so much.

Re:A better idea (2)

jcr (53032) | about 5 months ago | (#45156201)

The failure of the court to enforce the fourth amendment doesn't change what it says. The PATRIOT act is unconstitutional.

-jcr

Anger is what they'd like you to believe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152301)

Anger? We are talking about budgets worth tens to hundreds of billions of dollars. You are going to have a hard time convincing me that anger is a bigger movitator than greed. It barely takes a sneeze to leverage $10 million out of a $10 billion cash flow.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152385)

Anger did not guide their choice to implement the Patriot Act. The thing was written years before and they just needed the right crisis to implement. A new "Pearl Harbor" according to the Project for a new American Century.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45156051)

Congress should be held to the highest account of all. You can expect a intel organization to push the boundaries, just like any other stakeholder in the defense/war industry. What is unexpected to me was just how ignorant (corrupt?) congress has got. I think we need new ideas for government or new kinds of representatives. I doubt a single congressman or congresswoman has any geninue background in tech. In fact make that science/engineering in general.

Re:A better idea (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#45156101)

Given the size of the Patriot act and how quickly it was introduced, it's clear it was sitting in someone's desk ready to go. They just waited for something they could whip up into a panic and then introduced it as the cure to what ails ya.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151799)

How about trial by combat? Live on TV?

Re:A better idea (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 months ago | (#45151865)

He's committed billions of counts of illegal wiretapping. He should never be eligible for parole.

-jcr

Re:A better idea, time for money making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151951)

You could do that, but they will write books, ask colleges to fork out $60,000 or so to do speeches, the same with conferences.... Then they will wait to say they couldn't stand lying to the American people, and had to quit.. You know the usual political bullshit these people do, and everyone will say "oh my, he quit because he cared" (oh yeah he will make money off the various idiotic new media interviews as well)..

Need I go on with the bullshit? I have a BS in BS....

Well (0)

kaptink (699820) | about 6 months ago | (#45151463)

I'm sure they saw it coming.

Re:Well (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45151609)

President Obama: "Well Keith, I'm here to.."

Keith Alexander: "Ask me to resign, yeah I knew."

President Obama: Whaat..how you did you know?

Keith Alexander: "Several of your aides mentioned it within hearing distance of their cellphone mikes yesterday."

President Obama: "Well okay, what are you planning on doing now?"

Keith Alexander: "Probably spend a few days whacking it to these pictures I captured from your daughter's cellphone camera. Then I'm going to become the most powerful lobbyist in Washington with all this blackmail material."

Re:Well (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 months ago | (#45151631)

Hey man, he's a Star Trek [businessinsider.com] fan. He's got better taste than that.

Re:Well (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45151703)

Not if he sees himself as Garak from DS9.

Re:Well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45153859)

No he is more like the Ferengi, he has all this technology but doesn't quite know how to use it or what to do with it. but it is shiny.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45155279)

I would say he's more like a high official in the Tal Shiar.

Running away (0)

darrellg1 (969068) | about 6 months ago | (#45151465)

before he can be led away

Re:Running away (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45151641)

Ha, even on the HIGHLY UNLIKELY chance any of these scumbags would ever be charged with anything, they would get a full Presidential pardon before the ink even dried on their arrest warrants.

Re:Running away (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#45154583)

Bzzzt wrong. A pardon is given to a guilty person. Even to pardon them would be to admit their guilt.

What would happen is the attorney general would substitute the government itself as the defendant for them, since they worked for the government, and thus would shield them from real prosecution.

Then they would declare that none of the evidence can be shown for national security reasons, and once the dust settled on that, the case would be dismissed.

Re:Running away (2)

mdmkolbe (944892) | about 5 months ago | (#45154947)

Nixon was pardoned for any crimes he "might" have committed, so I don't think it requires admission of guilt. (Though there might be a perception of guilt and political fallout from that.)

Even if it did, Obama could just pardon him on his (Obama's) last day of office. If they delay the trial with pre-trial motions for a couple of years, the pardon would come through before anyone does any time.

(Of course, given that there isn't any real suggestion of an actual trial, this is all academic speculation.)

Re:Running away (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#45156379)

> Nixon was pardoned for any crimes he "might" have committed, so I don't think it requires
> admission of guilt. (Though there might be a perception of guilt and political fallout from that.)

so did you catch the more recent news? Nixon was KNOWN to have committed treason before he was elected. LBJ's spies had a senior person in his campaign, on a recorded phone call to South Viet Nam, urging the South Vietnamese to pull out of peace talks, promising a better deal under a Nixon administration.

Clear collusion with a foriegn party to affect US elections, not just in a trivial way, but but pulling out of peace talks against US foriegn policy interests. This information was not made public until sometime in the past year or two.

> Even if it did, Obama could just pardon him on his (Obama's) last day of office. If they delay the
> trial with pre-trial motions for a couple of years, the pardon would come through before anyone does
> any time.

However, why would they allow that to even happen? http://www.atra.org/legislation/federal/federal-employees-liability-reform-and-tort-compensation-aAct [atra.org]

...Act to provide for the substitution of the United States as a defendant in any action where one of its employees is sued for damages as a result of an alleged common law tort committed by the employee within the scope of his or her employment. Congress enacted the Westfall Act to respond to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Westfall v. Erwin, 484 U.S. 292 (1988), which limited a federal official's absolute immunity from tort claims to situations where the official's actions were "within the outer perimeter of an official's duties and . . . discretionary in nature."

Or this article on how it is being used to shield the members of the Bush Cabal: http://rt.com/usa/bush-amnesty-iraq-war-847/ [rt.com]

Please turn off the lights when you leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151495)

You have done more than enough to harm the citizens, the constitution, our reputation and the ideas that this country was founded on.

Please take the kangaroo FISA court, president transparency and the spineless, corrupt Congress with you.

Yeah, what a punishment (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45151529)

They should give him a t-shirt that says "I raped my country's Constitution and all I got was full my federal pension, lifetime healthcare benefits, full pardon for all my crimes, and this lousy t-shirt."

Re:Yeah, what a punishment (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152533)

I'll pay for the shirt, just tell me where to have it sent.

Re:Yeah, what a punishment (0)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about 6 months ago | (#45153059)

Oh please...congress raped the constitution long before these guys and they get re-elected time and time again. These people are saints by comparison.

Presidential candidate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151553)

Where next, Fox?

Re:Presidential candidate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151909)

Hey, moving from head of a spy agency directly to a Presidential run worked for Bush Sr.

And for Yuri Andropov, come to think of it.

Deserves a Generous Severance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151569)

His commitment to bringing the surveillance state to every American should not go unrewarded.

A new era for The Puzzle Palace (3, Interesting)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 6 months ago | (#45151601)

Although the general public has always known about the CIA, they used to be totally unaware of existence of the NSA. So, although it's not remarkable that the NSA's head is retiring, it is remarkable that the public knows - or cares - about it. The Puzzle Palace just ain't what it used to be.

Re:A new era for The Puzzle Palace (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45156093)

I expect Alexander might be important in natsec but he is not the main guy. That is true of all public facing nsa personel probably. When you think about it it'd be weird if not. A foreign gov could just kill them all at one swoop otherwise. If it's really true that these are the main guys I would consider that a firing offense in of itself.

Obligatory reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45151881)

No doubt he's stepping down to "spend more time with his family".

Probably because his wife's e-mail and cell phone records indicate she's having an affair.

Re:Obligatory reason (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#45152169)

No doubt he's stepping down to "spend more time with his family".

Probably because his wife's e-mail and cell phone records indicate she's having an affair.

But I sent her those emails in ROT13!

Re:Obligatory reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45153079)

Twice!

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152093)

It doesn't matter (NSA-wise) as it doesn't change a single thing.

Okay, now about his perjury (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152153)

Will there be any follow up to that?

maybe (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#45152159)

NSA Director Keith Alexander Is Reportedly Stepping Down

yes ... reportedly. Maybe he'll start doing it for real now he's finished being a front-man.

That's good news (0)

Error27 (100234) | about 6 months ago | (#45152505)

One thing that people talked about was that Alexander knew too much dirt on everyone and couldn't be forced to resign. It makes it easier that he stepped down voluntarily.

If you think about it, the NSA had enough information to force former CIA director David Patraeus to resign. I'm not saying they did, I'm just saying that they had the information and could have done it if they wanted to. But at the same time they were not able to prevent actual terrorists like the ones who attacked Westgate mall. The difference is that it's easier to spy on normal Americans than it is to spy on terrorists.

Perhaps he had a conscience after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152697)

I guess after running roughshod over the US constitution for all the years he might have finally realized it was wrong.

what about Clapper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45152707)

He shouldn't be just stepping down either, he should be shoved down (the stairs)

Must be nice... (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 6 months ago | (#45152733)

... to get nothing more than a cushy retirement after having committed countless crimes against millions of people.

The State is cannibalizing its mandate. (1)

supervirus (3399783) | about 6 months ago | (#45152867)

Just as the State will destroy DNA evidence that can exonerate prisoners already put to death - to prevent "undermining of the death penalty system", drones rain down down terror on largely innocent populations and bystanders - in the name of the war on terror, now the NSA is seeking to persecute Snowden for espionage, theft and conversion of Government property (data) - data which revealed that the NSA is doing exactly those things on as large a scale as their technology allows. Justice, liberty, privacy, peace and security are but fuel for the State's burning ambition for supremacy.

Re: The State is cannibalizing its mandate. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#45158759)

It is interesting times. You have the two reports from the US nuclear side too:
http://rt.com/usa/us-nuclear-general-suspended-495/ [rt.com]
and then:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/10/11/air-force-general-in-charge-nuclear-missiles-to-be-fired-officials-say/ [foxnews.com]
Was an item transferred from a US base without the correct paperwork?
Was an item not transferred from a US base without the correct paperwork?
Now 2 top people from the NSA too (civilian deputy will step down too).
Someone is replacing staff around the nuke command and the domestic surveillance system. What does history tell about the politics of such changes?

I am applying (1)

paiute (550198) | about 6 months ago | (#45153021)

I just sent in my application by emailing it to one of my other accounts.

Re:I am applying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45153259)

Just saving it to your desktop is enough for us to get a copy. Would you like us to log you off after we finish reading it?

NSA = No Such Administrator (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45153193)

"The spook you are trying to reach is no longer in service. Please hold while, and another bureaucrat will soon pretend not to be monitoring the line."

Do What All Retiring General Officers Do (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about 6 months ago | (#45153227)

Form a consulting company and overcharge the government to provide more bad advice at the highest price.

I don't want to know who's stepping down... (2)

Rozzin (9910) | about 6 months ago | (#45153533)

the news comes in the midst of a global public backlash over the NSA's widespread surveillance programs

I can't find a reliable source for this now, but I seem to remember someone saying recently (on another, less significant matter): "I don't want to know who's getting fired, I want to know who's going to jail."

Of course, we're not even talking about someone getting fired--we're talking about someone retiring....

anonymous US officials (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45154861)

Am I the only one who finds this a little amusing?

"anonymous US officials told Reuters today"

Nice to hear US official can maintain anonymity.

Too little, too late, end the NSA (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 months ago | (#45154893)

The NSA has demonstrated government out of control. The whole agency has got to go. The US, my country, has not only created terrorism where it is the primary target (If the "they hate our freedom" is the cause, then why aren't other free countries targeted as well?) but has managed to lose its trust and influence all over the world due to the NSA's behaviors. Worse, it is also affecting American business as they have been shown to be extremely complicit and so also cannot easily be trusted. I'd like to say we never saw it coming, but we did. I have seen other people saying this would happen. I have said it myself. No one believed it would happen to the great and powerful USA... but it's happening

Re:Too little, too late, end the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45157053)

While I agree that the "They hate our freedoms" line is a bunch of bunk, there have been several other free nations targeted: UK, France, Spain, and India off the top of my head.

Re:Too little, too late, end the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45160893)

If by ending the NSA you mean locking every employee inside their headquarters and setting it on fire I support it whole heartedly.

The real reason he's stepping down... (1)

ChainedFei (1054192) | about 5 months ago | (#45158055)

...Is so that he can work on the review board that is set to investigate the NSA. At least, that's what I imagine will happen.
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