The Obama administration guaranteed that the National Security Agency will continue to be led by a military official, defying a growing push to put the spy agency under the purview of a civilian.
The administration guaranteed ongoing military supervision when it decided the NSA director will continue to also lead Cyber Command, which must be overseen by a military officer.
The decision, announced Friday by White House’s National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, comes less than a day after officials leaked news that a highly anticipated report would suggest a civilian take over the NSA’s top spot. The report by the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology is expected to be formally submitted to the White House by Sunday.
But the administration is moving in the opposite direction.
“Following a thorough interagency review, the Administration has decided that keeping the positions of NSA Director and Cyber Command Commander together as one, dual-hatted position is the most effective approach to accomplishing both agencies’ missions,” Hayden said.
There has been a growing push for the NSA to be led by a civilian, out of concerns that having one person with a dual role unnecessarily concentrated too much power. Keith Alexander, a four-star general who currently holds both positions, is expected to step down this spring.
Hayden noted that Alexander’s retirement provided the administration with a “natural time” to review the existing arrangement. Alexander has repeatedly pushed for the roles to remain linked after his departure.
“Without the dual-hat arrangement, elaborate procedures would have to be put in place to ensure that effective coordination continued and avoid creating duplicative capabilities in each organization,” Hayden added.
President Obama commissioned the review panel in August amid growing concern about the agency’s intelligence-gathering tactics. The NSA has been pilloried this year as leaked documents from former contractor Edward Snowden have shed light on the agency’s internal workings.
What We're Following See More »
The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at a little-known intersection of politics and entertainment, in which Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon is still raking in residuals from Seinfeld. Here's the digest version: When Seinfeld was in its infancy, Ted Turner was in the process of acquiring its production company, Castle Rock, but he was under-capitalized. Bannon's fledgling media company put up the remaining funds, and he agreed to "participation rights" instead of a fee. "Seinfeld has reaped more than $3 billion in its post-network afterlife through syndication deals." Meanwhile, Bannon is "still cashing checks from Seinfeld, and observers say he has made nearly 25 times more off the Castle Rock deal than he had anticipated."
Donald Trump's "transition team will meet next week with representatives of the tech industry, multiple sources confirmed, even as their candidate largely has been largely shunned by Silicon Valley. The meeting, scheduled for next Thursday at the offices of law and lobbying firm BakerHostetler, will include trade groups like the Information Technology Industry Council and the Internet Association that represent major Silicon Valley companies."
Today in bad news for Donald Trump:
- Newsweek found that a company he controlled did business with Cuba under Fidel Castro "despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings." In 1998, he spent at least $68,000 there, which was funneled through a consluting company "to make it appear legal."
- The Los Angeles Times reports that at a golf club he owns in California, Trump ordered that unattractive female staff be fired and replaced with prettier women.