The National Security Agency’s director, Gen. Keith Alexander, had offered to resign earlier this year, following the series of leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The Obama administration declined Alexander’s offer, according to the Journal, because it did not want to hand Snowden a political victory and calculated that Alexander’s resignation would not fix the NSA’s problems:
When the leaks began, some top administration officials found their confidence in Gen. Alexander shaken because he presided over a grave security lapse, a former senior defense official said. But the officials also didn’t think his resignation would solve the security problem and were concerned that letting him leave would wrongly hand Mr. Snowden a win, the former defense official said.
There was speculation throughout the summer as to why the administration had not asked Alexander to resign. President Barack Obama had dismissed senior military leaders for far less serious lapses, as in 2010, when he fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for negative comments about the President and Vice President attributed to his staff by a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine.