The nation’s top defense and intelligence officials have asked President Obama to remove the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, according to news reports.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper each are recommending the dismissal of Rogers, who has led the NSA since 2014. The news was first reported by The Washington Post on Saturday and confirmed by Reuters, both of whom cited unnamed government sources.
Rogers, who is also chief of U.S. Cyber Command, took over the spy agency in 2014 in the wake of congressional and public uproar over revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden about the agency's surveillance methods.
But the agency has had its own scandal recently with the case of a 51-year-old government contractor charged last month with stealing a trove of highly classified documents that federal prosecutors called “breathtaking in its longevity and scale.” Prosecutors say Harold Thomas Martin III stole the material over two decades.
President-elect Trump is reportedly considering Rogers to replace Clapper, which would put him in the inner circle of the White House with oversight of the nation’s intelligence portfolio.
Rogers’ decision to meet with Trump on Thursday without notifying his superiors was apparently unprecedented and “caused consternation at senior levels of the administration,” according to the Post.
It’s not clear whether that had any bearing on Carter and Clapper’s recommendation to push for Rogers’ removal considering they had asked Obama for his ouster before the Trump visit.
Carter has concerns with Rogers’ performance, while Clapper is pushing for the separation of leadership roles at the NSA and Cyber Command and believes a civilian should head the NSA the Post said, citing sources
A trained cryptologist, Rogers has spent more than 30 years in the military, He ran the Navy's cyber warfare arm before coming to the NSA.