Advertisement

Obama officials want NSA chief, possible Trump Cabinet pick Mike Rogers fired

By
Allen Cone
Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers is pictured at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the formation for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, at it's headquarters on April 24, 2015, in McClean, Va. Sources with knowledge of the matter said the Obama administration wanted to fire Rogers before the Nov. 8 election because he is allegedly aloof at meetings and doesn't listen to staff input. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers is pictured at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the formation for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, at it's headquarters on April 24, 2015, in McClean, Va. Sources with knowledge of the matter said the Obama administration wanted to fire Rogers before the Nov. 8 election because he is allegedly aloof at meetings and doesn't listen to staff input. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- National Security Agency director Adm. Mike Rogers, a potential pick for national intelligence director in the Trump administration, might be fired by the current Obama administration.

Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community leaders want Rogers, 57, out because of perceived failures fighting the Islamic State and lax security, sources told NBC News. The New York Times and The Washington Post also reported President Barack Obama is considering removing the four-star general from his post.

Advertisement

Rogers met with President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday to discuss the job of director of national intelligence, a Cabinet-level position overseeing 16 intelligence agencies.

The NSA is an intelligence agency but part of the Defense Department.

RELATED National Intelligence Director James Clapper resigns

The White House, Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and the current director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., recommended removing Rogers last month. The New York Times' sources said the decision was not related to Trump's interest in naming him.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of Trump's transition team, has defended him. He wrote a letter to Carter and Clapper, asking them to testify before his committee to explain why they want Rogers removed.

Advertisement
RELATED Donald Trump, Mitt Romney meet amid speculation on secretary of state job

"It's not by accident that Admiral Rogers meets with the president-elect and two days later this story, which is completely built on lies, appears," Nunes said in an interview with The Times.

Rogers took command in April 2014 after the disclosure of widespread surveillance by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor. His work to prevent cyber-attacks was insufficient, sources told The Times.

Officials expected to replace Rogers before the Nov. 8 election, sources told The Washington Post.

RELATED Trump administration taking shape; Romney, Giuliani, Palin possible picks for key roles

"It was going to be part of a full package," the official told the newspaper. "The idea was not for any kind of public firing."

Clapper has pushed for the separation of leadership roles at the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, and wants the NSA to be headed by a civilian.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, threatened to block any such nominee if the leadership at the NSA and Cyber Command were split.

Rogers, whose term is due to end in the spring, is aloof, frequently absent and does not listen to staff input, according to Washington Post sources.

Carter has not been happy with how he is handling the U.S. Cyber Command's cyber-offensive against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines