US President Barack Obama has named US Navy officer, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers to spy on everyone in his glorious empire.
Rogers, by name and Rogers by profession will take over as head of the National Security Agency.
The department is under unprecedented pressure after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showed that it was carrying out electronic surveillance on an unprecedented scale.
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who recommended Rogers for the post, said that 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.
Rogers would also take over as head of the military’s cyber warfare command.
It is a moot point how sympathetic Rogers would be to any reforms of the NSA. He started out life as an intelligence cryptologist and heads the US Fleet Cyber Command, overseeing the navy’s cyber warfare specialists. For the last 30-year he has has worked in cryptology and eavesdropping, or “signals intelligence”.
It is not clear then how he will respond when he is face to face with civil liberties and privacy questions under an intense public spotlight.
Hagel said he was “confident that Admiral Rogers has the wisdom to help balance the demands of security, privacy and liberty in our digital age”,
The president rejected calls to name a civilian as NSA director. However, the new NSA deputy director would be Richard Leggett, making him the agency’s senior ranking civilian, acting as a chief operating officer.
Leggett has managed the NSA’s media leaks task force, which evaluated the effect of Snowden’s disclosures.
In December Leggett said he would be open to “having a conversation” with Snowden about a possible amnesty in return for a full accounting of what the ex-contractor took and where the files are now. We somehow do not think that will happen.