National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and his number two are on the way out, according to a new Reuters report.
Reuters' Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball report the Army General will reportedly be out as head of the spy agency by next March or April at the very latest. Alexander's deputy director, John "Chris" Inglis, allegedly has formalized plans to retire by the end of next year.
Alexander and Inglis (right) became common faces on Capitol Hill after the so-hot-right-now Glenn Greenwald exposed the NSA's massive surveillance operation with help from documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden. The two have testified on multiple occasions, answering lawmakers questions about the size and scope of the agency's spying operations and how the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act affects their work.
Though sometimes those trips go a lot worse than they're supposed to. Inglis was the one who told lawmakers that analysts look "two or three hops" from terror suspects, accidentally revealing the agency's spy operation as much larger than was previously imagined. Now, shockingly, he's (almost) gone.
Alexander has been NSA director since 2005, the longest anyone has served in the position. Inglis has been deputy director since 2005. Their plans to formally retire gives the President a chance to make a drastic move with the spy agency that has drawn so much scrutiny over the last year:
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.
How will Alexander spend his coming retirement? Traces of his cell phone metadata revealed no obvious leads. We FOIA'd his phone's geolocation data and learned nothing. A search of his web history indicates he's following the MLB playoffs closely, but offers no clues about a potential second act. He allegedly told a man working at a corner store near his house he's planning a long boat trip to Tahiti next summer. Then, a trip to Russia.
We've appealed to the FISA court for more information.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.