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Senator McCain calls for NSA chief Alexander to 'resign or be fired'

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Keith Alexander is having a bad few months. The NSA chief is already reportedly leaving the agency early next year, but for some in Congress, that's apparently not soon enough. In an interview with Der Spiegel on Sunday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said Alexander should "resign or be fired" over his role in the leaks, particularly in the practices that allowed leaker Edward Snowden to accumulate so much classified information without raising any alarms. "What are we doing as far as screening people who have access to this information?" McCain said. "It's outrageous, and someone ought to be held accountable."

The Senator also weighed in on recent revelations that the US had been monitoring German chancellor Angela Merkel's phone, saying, "a certain amount of eavesdropping goes on amongst friends. We all know that." Nevertheless, McCain said the president owes Merkel an apology for allowing the surveillance to go so far as her personal phone. Throughout the interview, McCain expresses frustration with Alexander with little to no criticism of the NSA at large, suggesting a successor who might continue surveillance while keeping a tighter leash on employees. As McCain puts it, "we have a reason to keep certain things secret that the enemy, who are dedicated to our extinction," McCain says. "al-Qaeda is still out there."