back to article Playtime's over: Next NSA boss may be torn away from US cyber-war effort

The job of running both the NSA and the US Cyber Command – which tasked with defending Uncle Sam's military computer networks – may be split after their boss General Keith Alexander retires. Alexander became a four-star general after he took the combined roles of leading both the NSA and US Cyber Command following the creation …


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  1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Civilian? So what !

    So, are they shooting themselves in the foot by implying that civilians are more moral, and less corrupt?

    Unfortuately, this isn't the case, and it means sod all anyway if the boss has the same remit and government permission.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Civilian? So what !

      Nor is implying that military officers are more moral and less corrupt. Suppose it is more about individuals.

    2. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: Civilian? So what !

      It's not that US CyberComm is made up of just military. It is more typical to have an agency of this nature staffed by contractors than for it to be made of only military personnel. I would not claim that they are any less capable, and I certainly am not making any calls on morality, but military personnel tend to make the decisions more than implement them.

  2. Eguro


    Does this mean the NSA will eventually find their mission to be protecting the USA from Cyber Command? (And is it just me, or could Cyber Command be part of Doctor Who serial?)

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I definitely agree with splitting cybersecurity out of the NSA

    Since they seem to have proven the point that existing cultural bias towards collection and penetration will trump an additional mandate towards security and protection.

  4. Captain DaFt

    Land of opportunity!

    Commit perjury to Congress, treat the Constitution like toilet paper, violate the country that you're sworn to protect... and for what?

    Retire with Full Honors and Benefits!

    WOO-HOO! Go, GO! Team America!

  5. frank ly

    Reading between the lines

    “If you try to break them up [NSA and US Cyber Command], what you have is two teams not working together. ..."

    "Splitting the two organizations would result in fights over resources and command decisions, ..."

    "This will of course create tensions ....."

    So, the people available to take charge of these important organisations are not team players who's concerns are the efficient operation of vital national defense activities. They are immature and self serving psychopaths who are concerned only with their own status and the amount of money and power they can be seen to wield. Well, that's how I read it.

  6. Chris G

    More oversight

    Oversight shouldn't be based on the size of the organisation, it should be an automatic function of government. After all governments should do what it says on the box; govern!

    I am making the assumption that the NSA is a part of the American Government but perhaps they don't think so.

    As for attack and defence, attack is something you do when you are at war and given that the war on drugs was started in the last century and the war on terror is at least 12 years old they are heading for a bigger fail than Vietnam was and have lost sight of who the enemy actually is.

    The percentage of citizens, American or otherwise who are being spied on that are or could be terrorists and a genuine threat to National security, are literally in statistical terms like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Perhaps if they get a new boss they may reform and refine their search parameters.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      "...governments should do what it says on the box; govern!"

      The real power in America - the Tea Party - disagrees.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        The real power in America - apathy - couldn't care less.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More moving the deckchairs

    Real reform begins with the prosecution of the likes of Clapper who lied to Congress ( a crime) and the repeal of acts such as the Patriot Act, plus the defunding, shutting down and destruction of the systems and agencies which perform mass surveillance. Anything else is unacceptable.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: More moving the deckchairs

      Lying to congress isn't a crime. Lying to a court under oath is.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    > There's a real shortage of bodies in the US government

    That made me laugh :D

    1. asdf

      a word is missing

      > There's a real shortage of competent bodies in the US government

      TFIFY. You're welcome.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. JaitcH

    Alexander, Clapper past their Best Before dates.

    US Cyber Command, the team tasked with protecting US government computer systems, seems to be less than successful judging by the youthful characters accused of penetrating US computer systems.

    Besides, having the diverse tasks under different heads, of equal seniority, might well avoid some of the excesses that our friend Snowden has detailed.

    Clearly Alexander blew it, be it his excesses or his lieing to Congress. Even his charm strategies are wearing thin with the aged Diane Feinstein (now EIGHTY) having to rewrite her scripts to fit the occasion.

    Question: Which Command will get to keep the Starship control centre, the manifestation of Alexander's ego?

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What Did you Do in the Great Game War, Daddy? Did you Fight the Good Fight for Right ...

    .... or Choose Wrong and be Doomed to Fail?

    Have you never wondered what powers UKGBNI/GCHQ/AIMODified Cyber Security Offices/XSSXXXX Station Zen Adventuring Turing Types challenge the bad and the mad and the rad and the sad in governments and money systems to ignore and stay studiously disengaged with, with nary even a polite acknowledgement of direct targeted contact, and in so doing advise all and sundry of the vectors/virtual sectors with zero defences to zerodaily attack and ethereally assault, in order to prove beyond any impossible shadow of reasonable doubt the certain truth of deep destructive and disruptive and highly creative and constructive matters being crazily avoided, for such is never ever denied realistically and every vain ineffectual attempt and/or chronicled episode is global evidence of a lack of leading intelligence at the controls of governing money systems?

    Here be something which may or may not be studiously avoided and denied discussion in a forum later today on such matters in Arlington, Virginia … 3rd Annual FedCyber Summit ….. for it be fruitless to deny it was not sent. And who and/or what lurks and be able to offer lead input to output which enables and drivers constructive creativity with sublime security, in the shadows behind the veil of cyber at …… or is it just an empty front acting as a shell corporation which launders monies/embezzles funds, public and private, pirate and proprietary …… for that is all that such bodies do whenever they be ineffectual and don’t do as they and it say they are supposed to be doing on the tin. And that just aint good enough today to hack it and IT with cracking good IT and provide lead in the future.

    Date: Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Subject: Coming Here and Now to a Virtual Summit Agenda and Cyber Conference Venue near You …. In and with AI and Flash Creating Cash, Stashed Cache Crash and Legacy Systems Collapse.

    To: John Young [cryptome at]

    Cc: cyber at

    The stronger the nation the more dependent upon excessive secrecy, ….. John Young? Cryptome …..

    We could agree to disagree wholeheartedly on that, John, if I were to posit, but for all the right reasons would choose to be reluctant to offer proof and methodologies to verify it, the weaker the nation the more dependent upon excessive secrecy it be. And for those and that which can supply effective and sufficient defence to such nations because they would be able to both identify and exploit the inherent unbridgeable and unfixable systemic catastrophic weaknesses in its key operations, but who would rather be minded and predisposed to agree not to share what be known about such sensitive and disruptive matters, is it akin to having a licence to print money or winning the lottery, for the information and intelligence needed to counter any use of such as would support and purport to be an omnipotent and omniscient, virtually elusive and exclusive weapon, would be prohibitively expensive to a nth degree to do battle with, and such a counter intelligence may even not exist or be able to ever exist.

    You might like to share that view and current actuality/present reality, John, with any members of your audience/any interested and/or interesting parties at the 3rd Annual FedCyber Summit on 6th November who might have a pressing need to know, for it is certainly something that they are not able to avoid having to deal with if they be into the myriad mind fields of cyber security and virtual protection and reality projection, or into the searching for advanced and advantageous secrets of mutual benefit to exclusive executive administrative systems ….. Man Management Command with Remote Access Control Decks.


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