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NSA head and deputy to step down

Both the top dog and his second in command at the NSA spying agency are set to step down in the near future according to US officials, which may go some way to restoring faith in the organisation that has had its reputation destroyed in recent months due to revelations that came to light as part of Edward Snowden's document leaks.

Current chief of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, has taken much of the brunt of the spying scandal, though part of that is because he lied to congress about the effectiveness of the NSA's anti-terrorism snooping, suggesting that as many as 40 terror plots were stopped because of his organisation's invasions of privacy. However, it was later revealed that the number of incidents stopped, was more like one or two.

As congressman Jim Sensenbrenner said, when describing the NSA tactics as law abusing: “The haystack approach missed the Boston marathon bombing, and that was after the Russians told us the Tsarnaev brothers were bad guys.”

So long and thanks for all the phish

However, Alexander and his right hand man, John Inglis, aren't going to leave in the next few days. Inglis is thought likely to step down before the end of the year, while Alexander may stick around a bit longer, hanging up his hat sometime in March or April next year.

This was all part of the plan though, according to one NSA spokesperson, who said to Reuters: “This has nothing to do with media leaks, the decision for his retirement was made prior; an agreement was made with the (Secretary of Defense) and the Chairman for one more year – to March 2014.” While this sounds like a scapegoat, Alexander has mentioned leaving around that time before, so there may be some truth to it.

Either way though, the shake up of the top end gives president Obama a chance to replace enough monkeys that they forget the water spray and do things in a more ethical manner. Even if the newly hired are keen to continue doing what their predecessors did, they'll need to do it in a far more secretive manner, as no doubt there will be pressure from on high over not upsetting the boat too early in their promoted careers. The NSA revelations certainly haven't helped America business, killing faith in many cloud operations and making it much harder for the average digital citizen to trust any US based software firms.

Kitguru Says: Here's hoping whoever gets the NSA gigs, that they're a little more conscientious of citizens' rights and less concerned about stopping one of the rarest forms of death in the world: terrorism.

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