Senior US officials urge Obama to fire NSA director over security lapses: sources
The heads of the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community have recommended to President Barack Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, be removed from his position, sources familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
The recommendation by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, first reported by The Washington Post, was delivered to the White House last month.
Obama chose Rogers to take over at the NSA in 2014 and tasked him with repairing the damage after the huge leaks about its electronic spying program by contractor Edward Snowden.
But there have been other security lapses, the sources said, including the one that led to the arrest of NSA contractor Harold Martin earlier this year.
Rogers is being considered as a potential new director of national intelligence by President-elect Donald Trump, a post that oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies.
The Washington Post reported that a decision by Rogers to travel to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday without notifying superiors caused consternation at senior levels of the administration, but the recommendation to remove him predated his visit.
The White House, Pentagon, NSA and office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment on the matter. A Trump campaign spokesman had no immediate comment.
The Obama administration wants to split leadership at the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, arguing that the job of leading two agencies with differing missions is too much for one person.
But some members of Congress, led by Republican Senator John McCain, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, oppose that plan, saying that Cyber Command needs access to the NSA’s resources to do its job effectively.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Additional reporting and writing by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell)