Gen. Keith Alexander, the Director of the National Security Agency, offered to resign after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source of leaked agency documents, according to a report in Monday's Wall Street Journal.
The Obama administration declined the offer. One former defense official told the newspaper that officials were concerned that Alexander's resignation would give Snowden a win.
The heretofore unreported revelation comes about a month after the announcement that Alexander would leave the agency early next year. Reuters reported Oct. 16 that Alexander was expected to leave by March or April, citing anonymous officials. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed a day later that Alexander, who has led the agency for eight years, would leave his post in March.
Snowden leaked classified documents to The Washington Post and The Guardian in June detailing the agency's telephone and Internet spying programs. He fled to Hong Kong and then Moscow, where he is currently residing.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment on the report, pointing instead to Carney's Oct. 28 statement that President Barack Obama has "full confidence" in Alexander.