Report: Biden NSA Chief Paul Nakasone Expected to Leave Admin in Coming Months

U.S. Cyber Command Commander Gen. Paul Nakasone testifies before the House Armed Services
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Four-star Army Gen. Paul Nakasone has reportedly told colleagues that he expects to leave the Biden administration as the director of the National Security Agency and the military’s Cyber Command within the coming months, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

People familiar with the matter told the Journal that the 59-year-old four-star general has recently been telling colleagues that he plannned to depart from the position after five years. One person said he could leave as soon as August or September, while another had given a less precise time. Nakasone has been at the helm since May 2018.

The Journal wrote:

It wasn’t clear whether Gen. Nakasone would retire or take another position within the administration, such as vice chairman of the joint chiefs or another senior post, some of the people familiar with the matter said.

If Gen. Nakasone does step down before the end of the year, it could complicate the Biden administration’s effort to persuade Congress to reauthorize a controversial foreign intelligence law before it expires. The law, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA], permits the NSA to collect vast amounts of intelligence from U.S. technology providers about foreign espionage, terrorism and national-security threats overseas. But the law has long attracted concern from privacy advocates on both sides of the aisle due to concerns about how data belonging to Americans is incidentally collected and searched, especially by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Gen. Nakasone has been a vocal advocate for the law’s renewal.

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The Journal also noted that Nakasone’s plans could always change due to his deputy at NSA, George Barnes, reportedly expecting to retire soon.

“The chief of NSA and Cyber Command is considered one of the most critical national-security jobs in government,” the report noted. “The role oversees two agencies that supply vast amounts of intelligence to senior policy makers by spying on foreign communications, while protecting government networks from cyberattacks and supporting military operations.”

An NSA spokesman told the Journal that the agency does not comment on personnel matters, adding, “Gen. Nakasone serves at the pleasure of the president.” The White House National Security Council declined to comment.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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