President Obama has chosen Navy Vice Adm. Michael Rogers as the new director of the embattled National Security Agency as his administration begins working to implement a bevy of surveillance reforms, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Rogers currently runs the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and will take the over the reins of the NSA from Gen. Keith Alexander, who will resign his post March 14. Alexander is the longest-serving head of the intelligence agency and was the first to oversee both the NSA and Cyber Command.
“This is a critical time for the NSA, and Vice Admiral Rogers would bring extraordinary and unique qualifications to this position as the agency continues its vital mission and implements President Obama’s reforms,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement. “I am also confident that Admiral Rogers has the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy, and liberty in our digital age.”
Rogers can be appointed directly to head the NSA, but he will require Senate approval to be given a four-star rank and subsequently be eligible to be named head of Cyber Command. Rogers currently has three stars to his name.
Rogers is a cryptologist with 30 years of Navy experience to his resume who, unlike his predecessors, possesses heavy experience in code-breaking. The selection comes as little surprise to most observers who have long seen Rogers as the most likely pick to succeed Alexander.
Obama additionally plans to appoint Richard Ledgett as the next deputy director of the NSA, the agency’s highest ranking civilian post. Ledgett currently serves as the agency’s chief operating officer.
“Ahead of General Alexander’s retirement in March and following Chris Inglis’ recent departure, the President believes Admiral Rogers and Rick Ledgett are the right people to provide experienced and principled leadership for the NSA moving forward, including in implementing the reforms he announced on January 17,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
In December of last year a presidential review board recommended splitting the the authority of the NSA and Cyber Command. Obama flatly rejected the suggestion before the group’s report became public.
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."