Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has hired the outgoing head of the National Security Agency (NSA) to oversee his company’s newspapers.
In a statement from News Corporation, Murdoch said Army Gen. Keith Alexander is “an experienced leader with a unique and varied background in information gathering, research and technology — valuable skills that will help our newspapers continue to provide our readers the information they need long before our competitors do.”
The announcement arrives as Alexander, who has served as director of the NSA for eight years, is facing increasing scrutiny since recent leaked documents revealed the NSA routinely broke privacy rules and engaged in widespread monitoring of phones, emails and social media of millions of people, including those of nearly 40 world leaders.
Despite the parallels between the phone hacking and bribery scandals surrounding Murdoch’s defunct British tabloid News of the World and the NSA’s intelligence gathering practices, Murdoch said he felt Alexander was the right person for the job.
“I look forward to Gen. Alexander’s contributions to our company’s daily pursuit of news and information for our readers,” Murdoch said in a statement. “Gen. Alexander is the kind of upright, morally upstanding person who represents the values of News Corporation and our dedication to breaking news before anyone else knows about it.”
Eyes and ears for news
Alexander, who is leaving the NSA next year, will move to London and serve as general manager for News Corporation’s newspapers division, overseeing the day-to-day operations of its newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, which include the New York Post, The Sun, the Wall Street Journal and The Sunday Times.
Alexander is charged with expanding each newspaper’s information-gathering technology, breaking news desks and international news bureaus.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me,” Alexander said in a statement. “While I do not have any background or experience in journalism and newspapers, it will be an interesting change of pace for me to gather news and release it to the public voluntarily, rather than having it get leaked by someone.
“Mr. Murdoch has given me a strong vote of confidence and asked me to do whatever it takes — and he means whatever it takes — to beat our competitors to the scoop.”
In addition, News Corporation announced plans to expand its international operations with the purchase of several tabloid newspapers in Brazil, Germany, France and Spain.