Joe Biden's National Security Agency director is stepping down. Paul Nakasone, who is also the head of the U.S. Cyber Command, has been director of the NSA since 2018.
The news was reported by the Wall Street Journal. The four-star general has told colleagues he planned to leave the position after five years, the Journal reported.
The paper said it’s unclear if Nakasone is leaving the administration or preparing to take another high-level role.
“General Nakasone serves at the pleasure of the President," the NSA said.
Nakasone's deputy, George Barnes, may also retire, which could affect Nakasone's plans.
Senator Tommy Tuberville's (R-Al.) blockade of military appointments over Biden's radical abortion policy could also complicate his efforts to replace Nakasone with a permanent director.
Nakasone let slip in an interview with Sky News last year that the NSA is helping Ukraine wage war against Russia.
"My job is to provide a series of options to the secretary of defense and the president, and so that's what I do," he said.
His departure comes as the White House and intelligence community are lobbying for the renewal of sweeping intelligence collection powers under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Nakasone has defended Section 702, which allows the government to conduct mass warrantless surveillance of foreign intelligence targets -- and American citizens who are swept up in data collection.
The improper surveillance of the Trump campaign under FISA in 2016 has made Republicans skeptical of renewal. Nakasone has denied that Section 702 jeopardizes civil liberties, saying it was "designed with safeguards to protect the rights of the American people and our allies."
"This authority provides the U.S. government irreplaceable insights, whether we're reporting on cybersecurity threats, counterterrorism threats, or protecting U.S. and allied forces," Nakasone said in January.
But surveillance abuses -- very public ones, in fact -- have occurred on Nakasone's watch. In 2021, the NSA was caught spying on former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, whose identity was "unmasked" and then illegally made public.
House Republicans released a damning memo Wednesday that suggested the CIA may have helped get signatures for the bogus "Russian disinformation" letter that was coordinated with the 2020 Biden campaign to shut down the Hunter Biden laptop story.