It has been a rough few months for the National Security Agency, and specifically for its director, Gen. Keith Alexander. The leaks of details of NSA surveillance programs by former contractor Edward Snowden have taken over the news cycle this summer and put the agency’s business out in the open. Then, when Alexander spoke at Black Hat last month, he was heckled and booed as he defended the NSA’s programs. Now, there’s a petition, on the White House’s own Web site, to have Alexander removed from his position.

The petition is on the We the People section of the White House site, which allows citizens to create petitions to address a specific issue. If a petition receives enough support, it will be reviewed by the White House. The petition to remove Alexander was posted Aug. 20 and seeks to have him removed from his position as director of the NSA because the agency “has lost its way under his leadership”. Citing the recent stories in the Washington Post about the agency’s alleged collection of data on Americans, the petition is seeking 100,000 signatures.

“As the Washington Post reports, General Alexander’s NSA is an agency which flagrantly disregards privacy rules and oversteps its legal authority on a regular basis,” the petition says.

“Historically, directors of the agency have been replaced on average every 4 years. Alexander has held his post for an unprecedented 8 years. We believe this has contributed to the lack of objectivity and custodial oversight. The agency has lost its way under his leadership, and it is time for a change.”

Alexander has been under fire from all directions in recent months as the leaks from Snowden have mounted and questions about the NSA’s surveillance programs have followed. In June, Alexander was called before the Senate Appropriations Committee to face tough questions about his agency’s activities and whether they were illegal or unconstitutional.

“I do think what we’re doing does protect Americans’ civil liberties and privacy,” Alexander said during the hearing. “To date, we have not been able to explain it because it’s been classified. How can we explain it and still keep the nation secure? That’s the issue in front of us.”

In addition to running the NSA, Alexander also is in charge of the U.S. Cyber Command, the military unit tasked with defensive and offensive security operations.

Categories: Government, Privacy

Comments (7)

  1. David Tubbs
    2

    This is just fucking stupid. General Alexander – on multiple occasions – has gone above and beyond in establishing efforts to bridge the communication gap between the NSA and the general public. Anyone endorsing this petition is a complete douche!

  2. John Gilles
    3

    I have been to several addresses by General Alexander where he has provided information on programs to reach out to the people, businesses in the private sector, and local and state government to protect our country from terrorist activities and other threats. He has been as open and candid as possible, and deserves to continue in his present assignment as long as asked to serve. I will not sign or recommend signing that petition to anyone.

    I am not involved in any way with the government, but am involved in information and corporate security.

  3. samm
    4

    The author of this article was clearly not at Alexander’s black hat speech. In fact, the author is straight up lying about what happened there. The hecklers where silenced and he received polite applause. Not that everyone agreed with him but they definately gave him his say and most appreciated showing up.

  4. sittingBEAR
    5

    NSA and its covert snooping especially in Europe & Russia have angered & alienated people all over the globe. Much of the Manning & Snowden “leaks” were from data already in the public domaign! I class Gen.Alexander & his cohorts with monsters like Rove and Cheyney & co. I am disgusted with the mess in DC and even more disgusted with colossal waste of taxpayer $$ on the general’s ever increasing “imperial” realm, which is soon due to double in size [both buildings & personnel] at the expense of Social Security and Medicare.His motto surely must be: “The public be damned!”

  5. Rupinder K Gill
    6

    I understand the need to ensure the safety and security of a nation. However, how else is this NSA surveillance being used? Is it legal for the NSA to collect private and confidential information of all citizens?

    I understand the NSA is also collecting private and confidential information of citizens in the United Kingdom too – Do our privacy laws permit this to happen? What is the information being used for? Also if citizens are being monitered don’t they deserve the right to know and challenge the NSA for invading their privacy?

    Hacking into a citizens or businesses firewall (Which they purchased in order to feel secure online) – aren’t citizens allowed to assert their moral rights? Also what does this say in relation to the effectiveness of well establised firewall brands?

    Can the NSA vouch for every employee who monitors innocent citizens who may have family photo’s/videos especially of their children on their laptops, ipads, emails and social networking sites etc I doubt any parent would feel comfortable with the idea they are being monitored without being told.

    Obviously during the next election the NSA will be using it’s powers to collect information on politicians in which case how is this private information going to be used? Are they neutral? Every vote is confidential so how can the NSA justify spying on citizens in relation to collecting information on who they are likely to vote for?

    I am trying to understand the “Kill List” why would anyone mention such a list in relation to Edward Snowdon? Now we know it exists who else is on this list? And why are they on it? Are they given a chance to defend themselves in public before being placed on this list?

    I think using the term “Non-Essential human-being” is a very harmful term to use especially against Edward Snowdon. What is the NSA’s definition of a “Non-essential human being?” – They are worthless and therefore no longer needed?

    I understand market research for the commercial industry may use a similar method now or in the future.

    In addition, if the NSA hack into an internet providers connection and a phone connection, how can the internet provider ensure personal privacy as with telephone/mobile providers?

    Is anyone exempt and why?

    To be fair it’s a tough one balancing national security with citizens right to privacy.

    Sorry if this doesn’t flow very well, it’s more bullet point style. I’m not too well today. However, I wanted to say something in relation to the NSA and how they may effect society where we all live in a world where nothing is private. However we all have the freedom to question it.

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