US National Security Agency
America's National Security Agency (NSA) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defence responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence. The NSA is a key component of the US Intelligence community, which is headed by the Director of National Intelligence. By law, the NSA's intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications although there have been some incidents involving domestic collection, including the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.
US nears decision on splitting NSA from Cyber Command after Snowden
The White House is nearing a decision on splitting up the eavesdropping National Security Agency and US Cyber Command, which conducts cyberwarfare, a proposed reform prompted in part by revelations of the NSA's widespread snooping, individuals briefed on the matter say.
As part of the emerging plan, the NSA likely would get a civilian director for the first time in its 61-year history. Both agencies are now headed by the same person, Army General Keith Alexander, who is retiring in March as the NSA's longest-serving director.
NSA monitors phone, email and other communications for national security threats. Cyber Command defends Pentagon and other US computer networks, infiltrates adversaries' networks and conducts offensive cyberwarfare.
A White House spokeswoman said a final decision had not been made. "With General Alexander's planned departure next spring, this is a natural point to look at this question to ensure we are appropriately postured to address current and future security needs," she said.
One official said that it was possible a decision could come soon and could be made public simultaneously with the results of White House reviews of NSA activities prompted by disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.