WASHINGTON

Obama names Navy admiral to helm of embattled NSA

A Navy admiral is President Obama’s choice to be the next head of the National Security Agency, which is embroiled in controversy over its secret surveillance programs and massive collection of phone and Internet data.

Vice Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the Navy’s Cyber Command and a former intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is being appointed to lead the NSA, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Thursday. Rogers also is being nominated to get a fourth star and head U.S. Cyber Command.

Rogers, who replaces Army Gen. Keith Alexander at the NSA, comes into the job facing the challenge of revamping the way the agency collects and stores its data. Alexander plans to retire in mid-March.

The NSA has been rocked by former analyst Edward Snowden’s disclosures detailing widespread surveillance programs that have swept up the phone records of hundreds of millions in the U.S.

Wind power advocates call for restoration of tax credit

Wind power advocates urged Congress on Thursday to quickly restore the production tax credit that expired at the end of 2013, saying that a prolonged period without it threatens gains made in recent years.

Officials from a wind power company, a steel company and the American Wind Energy Association said the loss of the 2.3-cents per kilowatt hour tax credit will directly translate into lost jobs. Despite continued demand, steel companies, wind energy firms and utilities will not devote their money and resources to wind power without the certainty that the credit provides, they said.

“We have to have a quick extension” of the credit, said Jaime Steve, director of government affairs at Pattern Energy, which runs wind power projects in the U.S., Canada and Chile. “This is about people’s jobs. Congress allowed a variety of tax breaks, worth a total of about $50 billion a year, to expire Dec. 31.

California’s Rep. Waxman retiring after four decades

Rep. Henry Waxman, one of Congress’ fiercest negotiators and a policy expert on everything from clean air to health care, will retire at the end of the year after four decades in the House.

“It’s time for someone else to have the chance to make his or her mark,” the liberal California Democrat said Thursday.

Democrats and some Republicans saluted Waxman for the breadth of his work, from policy to good government and more.

“Henry will leave behind a legacy as an extraordinary public servant and one of the most accomplished legislators of his or any era,” President Obama said in a statement.

– From news service reports