-- October 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM ET
NSA director and his deputy to leave the agency
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates delivers the oath of office to U.S. Army Gen. Keith Alexander during the activation ceremony of U.S. Cyber Command on Fort Meade, Md., May 21, 2010.
The National Security Agency's director and his deputy are leaving the agency in March, White House press secretary Jay Carney confirmed Thursday.
Army General Keith Alexander, who's held the NSA director position for eight years, came under criticism when contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents that revealed widespread surveillance on telephone, email and social media data.
NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said the process for picking his successor is under way.
"This has nothing to do with media leaks, the decision for his retirement was made prior; an agreement was made with the (Secretary of Defense) and the Chairman for one more year - to March 2014," Vines told Reuters in an email.