Back in October, it was announced that Gen. Keith Alexander would be stepping down as head of the NSA. While it was presumed his resignation was caused by the Snowden leaks, the government maintains that his resignation has been a long time coming. Either way, a replacement is on the way.
The Hill reports that Obama is close to announcing Vice Admiral Mike Rogers as his choice to head up the NSA once Alexander resigns. Rogers, who ironically shares the same name as House Intelligence Committee Chairman and CISPA author Mike Rogers, is currently in charge of Cyber Command for the Navy.
According to his biography, Rogers has been doing cryptology for the Navy since 1986. He became the head of Cyber Command for the Navy in 2011. His extensive experience in the field makes him a logical choice for the position according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
What about his civil liberties record? After all, one of the main complaints regarding Alexander is that he ignored many potential civil liberties violations in favor of fulfilling his dream of being a starship captain. As for Rogers, Hagel says that he has "the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy and liberty in our digital age."
While we can't say for sure how Rogers will perform, we can at least remain cautiously optimistic. After all, Rogers could bring a fresh face to the NSA that pushes for transparency and less intrusive surveillance methods. While it's certainly not likely to happen, one can at least dream, right?
Obama still hasn't made the official announcement, but it will probably be made soon so Rogers can be put through the nomination process. This will be especially important for us as the Senate will no doubt be grilling him on all the issues currently facing the NSA and its surveillance programs. It will give us a good idea on where Rogers stands on these issues and if he will be better or worse than Alexander.
Image via Navy.mil