No Civilian Leadership for NSA After All

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Last night I reported that, among other things, the president might be ready to change the leadership of the NSA. Going forward, it would get a civilian leader separate from the military leader of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command. By the time I woke up this morning, that idea was dead:

The Obama administration has decided to preserve a controversial arrangement by which a single military official is permitted to direct both the National Security Agency and the military’s cyberwarfare command, U.S. officials said.

The decision by President Obama comes amid signs that the White House is not inclined to impose significant new restraints on the NSA’s activities — especially its collection of data on virtually every phone call Americans make — although it is likely to impose additional privacy protection measures.

….“The big picture is there’s not going to be that much [additional] constraint,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “They’re really not hurting [the NSA] that much.”

It’s starting to look like the only part I got right last night might be this: “In the end, I suspect that most of this will amount to very little.”

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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