Admiral Mike Rogers is reportedly expected to step down this spring, retiring after four years as the director of the National Security Agency, Politico revealed Friday.
The embattled NSA director is said to have made the announcement to agency staff, Reuters reported Friday, citing a tweet by a Washington Post reporter. President Donald Trump will likely name a successor sometime before the end of the month.
Former President Barack Obama nominated Rogers in 2014, and he took the helm at a time when the NSA was still reeling in the wake of the devastating Edward Snowden leaks.
He faced staunch criticism from other intelligence and defense leaders, as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter both recommended a little over a year ago that the White House relieve him of his duties, citing inadequacies in his performance.
Several major security breaches occurred on Rogers’ watch, such as the damaging theft of sensitive materials by Booz Allen Hamilton contractor and TAO employee Harold T. Martin III and another serious data breach in the summer of 2015. “[Rogers] has been at the helm of the NSA at the time of some of the most egregious security breaches,” a senior administration official told the Washington Post in the fall of 2016.
He also aggravated the Obama administration by secretly meeting with then President-elect Trump in late 2016 without informing his superiors.
This past year, the NSA has been struggling to deal with the online leak of its top secret cyber warfare tools, and the news of Rogers’ departure comes amid reports that many highly-skilled agency staff members are fleeing the NSA for better opportunities in the private sector. The NSA has also been forced to handle the fallout after former contractor Reality Winner allegedly leaked the details of an agency intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Despite some of his shortcomings, Rogers has managed to reform Cyber Command and appears to have boosted the overall capabilities of this elite warfighting unit. He also maintains the support of many American lawmakers in Congress.
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