ACCORDING TO A REPORT at Reuters, the director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) is likely to step down soon, followed by his number two.
Army General Keith Alexander could go soon, according to US officials, while second in command John "Chris" Inglis will retire at the end of the year.
Reuters' sources wouldn't give their names, and would only pass on the rumour on condition of anonymity.
An NSA spokesperson confirmed that Alexander is leaving, adding that this has been on the cards for some time.
"This has nothing to do with media leaks, the decision for his retirement was made prior; an agreement was made with the [Secretary of Defence] and the chairman for one more year - to March 2014," it said in an email.
Alexander has been head of the US surveillance agency for some eight years and has extended his tenure twice. Former computer security analyst Inglis has been number two at the NSA since 2006. We don't know what they will get up to in retirement, but we imagine that they might enjoy the break.
The pressures of their jobs will have increased dramatically in the last few months following revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden published in the Guardian and other newspapers.
The disclosures have earned Snowden a prolonged stay in Russia, and have seen a number of moody glares directed at the Guardian in the UK.
Last week we heard that speaking the truth about data surveillance gives terrorists access to your wardrobe, or something, and this week we understand that Prime Minister Dave Cameron is miffed about it.
During prime minister's question time Cameron suggested that a select committee should take a long look at the Guardian and its disclosures.
"The plain fact is that what has happened has damaged national security and in many ways the Guardian themselves admitted that when they agreed, when asked politely by my national security adviser and cabinet secretary to destroy the files they had, they went ahead and destroyed those files," he said.
"So they know that what they're dealing with is dangerous for national security. I think it's up to select committees in this house if they want to examine this issue and make further recommendations." µ
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