It's been said that no publicity is bad publicity, but if you happen to be Gen. Keith Alexander, this year would contain enough bad publicity to drown even walking scandal Anthony Weiner.
From the news that he wasted taxpayer dollars on fulfilling his Starfleet captain's complex to his metadata dragnet of American citizens' personal information, Alexander has had a tough time in the past year defending the Orwellian programs he helped create.
Now, with formal plans already set in motion, Alexander readies himself to resign next Spring in March or April. His civilian deputy, John "Chris" Inglis, will retire slightly earlier than Alexander at the end of this year.
U.S. officials who spoke with Reuters on the condition of anonymity have said a leading candidate to fill the position may be Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Navy's 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command operations. The 10th Fleet, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, and the NSA are all conveniently headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland. Rogers may not be the only candidate considered, the officials added.
Although the timing suggests otherwise, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told Reuters in an email that "This has nothing to do with media leaks, the decision for his retirement was made prior; an agreement was made with the (Secretary of Defense) and the Chairman for one more year - to March 2014."
Gen. Keith Alexander first became director in August 2005, and an eight year tenure makes him the longest-serving NSA chief in the organization's history. Alexander also holds the title "Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command unit."
A vigorous apologist of the NSA's activities, Alexander defended the wiretaps, email grabbing, and contact list scraping as "lawful and necessary" to detect and disrupt terrorist plots. Alexander's civilian deputy started out as a computer analyst, and rose to become Alexander's Number Two in 2006.
If you're interested in the implications of Alexander's policies, New York radio personality Lionel gave commentary earlier this year regarding the United States' cyberwar potential:[Image via this ABC News interview with Stephanopoulos of Alexander trashing Snowden]