James Clapper, who led America’s digital mass surveillance efforts, has resigned


President-elect Trump will pick a new chief of national security.

James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, submitted his letter of resignation yesterday, making room for a new head of national security operations to be appointed by President-elect Donald Trump.

Clapper oversees the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and the DEA, as well as 13 other agencies that operate under a total budget of $52 billion with more than 107,000 federal employees reporting under him.

During his six years of leadership, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and many other large technology companies turned over collections of their users’ data under national security orders issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Clapper was in charge when the FBI publicly fought with Apple over whether the company should be forced to compromise the encryption of an iPhone in a federal investigation earlier this year (President-elect Trump sided with the FBI). And under Clapper, federal intelligence operations oversaw numerous “back doors” built into technology company servers and products, including Yahoo’s email servers and a Verizon encryption app.

He also sat at the helm as the NSA’s and FBI’s surveillance operations specifically targeted Muslim-American communities, an architecture that is likely to expand under a Trump presidency.

Civil liberties and rights organizations have long criticized American national surveillance programs as disproportionately targeting minority communities. The president-elect has said he plans to create a national database of Muslim Americans. And the next Director of National Intelligence will be selected by Donald Trump’s administration, where key White House appointments either have been filled or are being considered by individuals who have taken positions that are prejudicial of Muslims, Jews, people of Asian descent, African Americans and women.

There were a number of high-profile intelligence leaks during Clapper’s tenure, including disclosures of America’s surveillance programs by Edward Snowden in 2013 and more recently by Harold Martin.

James Clapper is 75 years old; he will remain in office until January 20.

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