Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have called for President Barack Obama to remove National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers from his position.
Part of the reason revolves around Rogers’ job performance, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Rogers was appointed to the leadership position in April 2014 in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelation. The year prior, Snowden leaked information to the media about mass surveillance programs, and shared classified material on several top secret National Security Agency programs.
When Rogers took the position, which encompasses leadership of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, it came with a tall order: prevent such high-profile security breaches from happening again in the future.
In that arena, he has failed. On his watch, officials arrested Harold T. Martin III, whose actions led to the largest theft of classified government material to date, according to The Washington Post. Officials identified another security breach in the summer of 2015, and although an individual was arrested, details haven’t been made public.
The breaches from Martin and the second person arrested are particularly troublesome, given that they included compromises of sensitive hacking tools, and both employees worked in Tailored Access Operations, which is the NSA’s “premier hacking unit,” the Washington Post article states.
Much of Martin’s theft of information predated Rogers, but some of the most sensitive tools he stole continued after Rogers took over the agency.
Another problem plaguing Rogers is his management style, the Post article states. There are complaints that he doesn’t listen to staff input, he is aloof, and often is absent.
Rogers also did himself no favors recently when he traveled to New York to meet with President-elect Donald Trump. There appears to be no precedent “for an officer like Rogers to conduct such a meeting and not inform his superiors,” according to U.S. News & World Report.
Personality and performance aside, the recommendation from Clapper and Carter for Rogers’ removal is because they believe Cyber Command and the NSA leadership should be split, according to U.S. News & World Report. Clapper also reportedly prefers that the NSA be led by a civilian.
Rogers’ future with the NSA could be a moot point. The reason he met with Trump recently is because Trump is considering Rogers to replace Clapper, who has announced his retirement.