Army Gen. Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2010. He told a Senate panel today there is no sacrifice between liberty and security.
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- The director of the National Security Agency will step down early next year, the White House announced on Thursday.
Army Gen. Keith Alexander's departure comes in the aftermath of revelations about the U.S. intelligence community eavesdropping program leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
White House press secretary Jay Carney confirmed that Alexander, who has led the agency for eight years, would depart his post in March.
Alexander informed President Obama about his decision several weeks ago, and had made clear when his tenure was extended for a third time earlier this year, and prior to the Snowden leaks, that he would like to retire in 2014, Carney said.
"Having served as director since 2005 and as commander of U.S.Cyber Command since 2010, Gen. Alexander has served an extraordinary tenure and has capably led these agencies through critical periods of growth and transition," Carney said.
One leading candidate to replace Alexander is Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, currently commander of the U.S. Navy's 10th Fleet and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, Reuters reports. But there has been no final decision on selecting Rogers to succeed Alexander, and other candidates may be considered, the news agency says.
Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY