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.”

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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