The Hill reports today that the White House is considering appointing a civilian leader to run the NSA when current director Keith Alexander, who has led the agency since 2005, steps down in the spring. This could signal a changing view of the agency's role, and is seen by some as a promising if small first step toward greater transparency.
Naming a civilian to head the NSA would involve making a separate agency out of Cyber Command, the military hacker group currently under Gen. Alexander's command. While White House sources did not provide The Hill any details, a former administration official confirmed that a list of potential civilian appointees is being considered. While the FBI and CIA are both led by civilians, only military personnel have occupied the NSA's top post since the agency's inception in 1952. As The Hill points out, unlike a military appointee, a civilian leader would be subject to Senate confirmation. [The Hill via The Verge]