House Intel chair arranging hearing on NSA director
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is questioning two top Obama administration officials over reports they recommended President Obama remove National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers.
Nunes wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Saturday to arrange a hearing to receive additional information from the officials.
The intelligence chairman’s letter came hours after The Washington Post reported that Clapper and Carter had approached Obama about replacing Rogers and that officials had expected Obama to do so before the presidential election.
Rogers is reportedly being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to replace Clapper as the Director of National Intelligence and traveled to New York on Thursday to meet with Trump without notifying his superiors, according to the Post.
“Given the Committee’s constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the Intelligence Community (IC), I am asking you to provide a full explanation of the allegations contained in the Post article,” Nunes wrote.
“I am also concerned that the article may contain unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” he added.
Carter’s concerns about the NSA chief dealt with lax security against insider threats at the agency, according to the Post.
There have been at least two instances of individuals arrested for removing classified information about cyber espionage tactics, the arrest of Booz Allen Hamilton contractor Harold Martin III and a second arrest reported by the Post that has not been released to the public.
Rogers was tapped in 2014 to lead both the NSA and the military Cyber Command after fallout over the NSA leak involving former contractor Edward Snowden.
Clapper’s concerns are said to be related to Rogers’s dual role as both the head of the NSA and the military Cyber Command. Many have suggested that the two agencies should exist under their own command structures.
Carter also allegedly took issue with Rogers’s level of success against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in his Cyber Command position.
In his letter, Nunes praised Rogers, describing him as competent.
“Since Admiral Rogers was appointed as NSA Director in April 2014, I have been consistently impressed with his leadership and accomplishments. His professionalism, expertise, and deckplate leadership have been remarkable during an extremely challenging period for NSA. I know other members of Congress hold him in similarly high esteem,” he wrote.
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