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NSA chief tightens up retirement plans

Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of America's national spying agency, and his civilian deputy, John "Chris" Inglis, are expected to resign from their positions in the coming months.

General Keith Alexander of the National Security Agency asks security professionals and hackers at Black Hat 2013 to help with government surveillance following the Edward Snowden leaks. Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

After eight years as the longest-serving leader of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander will be making his exit sometime in spring 2014, according to a report.

Alexander, who has been in charge of the NSA since August 2005, is expected to depart the agency in March or April of next year, US officials told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

The past year of his reign as chief spook has been marked by tumultuous revelations thanks to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents reveal widespread domestic and foreign spying by the agency involving the metadata and content of phone calls, e-mails, and other electronic communications.

Alexander, who had previously announced that he would retire next spring, apparently has narrowed that window. His civilian deputy, John "Chris" Inglis, is expected to resign by the end of this year.

The unnamed US officials told Reuters that a leading candidate for Alexander's replacement is Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, the current commander of the US Navy's 10th Fleet and US Fleet Cyber Command, however, a final decision has not been made by President Barack Obama.

Alexander has been a vocal defender of his agency's actions to Congress and the public as the ongoing revelations from documents leaked by Snowden continue to raise fears of an abuse of power.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. with additional details.