With the inauguration only weeks away and cabinet picks proving controversial, Donald Trump's potential choice for the national intelligence director has not assuaged the public. NSA chief Mike Rogers has come under fire as of late, and while the Obama administration wants his contract terminated, the president-elect wants Rogers to play a role in the Trump administration.
With hearsay, fake news and conspiracy theories running rampant online, Trump's cybersecurity awareness has come under fire. Does he understand what is at stake, and does he not realize that the past actions of Mike Rogers does not bode well for national security?
Under the Leadership of Mike Rogers
According to NBC News, both the heads of the Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community want Rogers removed from his position with the National Security Agency. It has been perceived by the intelligence officials that the four-star general was ineffective to negligible in fighting ISIS and lax in national security safety measurements.
Despite having his contract under consideration for termination, Rogers flew to New York to meet with the president-elect, unbeknownst to his superiors, defying protocol. As reported by the Washington Post, under Rogers' watch, two massive data security compromises were found to be the result of NSA employees working for in the leading hacking unit: Tailored Access Operations (TAO.) The most prominent of the two hacks was carried out by Harold T. Martin III, who had been able to smuggle out data for years without suspicion.
After the two data breaches were brought to light, Mike Rogers' bosses Ash Carter and James Clapper gave him a final warning, if he did not demonstrate the leadership skills necessary for the job, he would be let go. His position with the NSA is still up in the air. Though top officials are unsatisfied with Rogers' leadership, the current sitting administration has yet to remove him from his post.
There has been speculation in recent weeks that the only reason the intelligence committees wan Rogers removed is because of his meeting with Donald Trump. The New York Times states this is not the reason. As told to the newspaper by an anonymous administration and intelligence officials, the recommendation for Rogers' removal "was driven by breaches during Admiral Rogers' tenure at the NSA and his leadership of the agency."
Rogers has said in interviews that he's "accountable for his actions," but this rings as true as Ben Carson's confidante Armstrong Williams stating that the "last thing [Carson] would want to do was take a position [in the cabinet] that could cripple the presidency." Ben Carson has been elected to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He may have said he had no experience, but in the long run that did not stop Carson from accepting the position.
Rogers may hold himself accountable for the security breaches, but if he's still able to pursue the position without recourse, the question is, will he have learned better cybersecurity practices, or learned how to make them sound like less of a threat?
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