The upcoming retirement of National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander will give President Obama an opportunity to transform the agency.
Currently, he does not need Senate approval to appoint an NSA director, one of the most powerful positions in the intelligence community.
Privacy advocates are hoping that Obama will pick someone who has a less expansive view of the NSA’s surveillance power.
Amie Stepanovich, an attorney with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said she hopes the president puts “somebody in charge who is more aware of these real constitutional and statutory issues and will make sure that individual rights are more protected.”
Chris Finan, a former Defense Department official and fellow at the Truman National Security Project, said there is “wide spread recognition” in the executive branch that Alexander’s retirement will be an opportunity to improve oversight of the NSA.
“I’m sure they’re looking at this as an opportunity to address some of the privacy concerns,” Finan said.