National Security Agency general counsel Michael Ellis, appointed to the position by former President Donald Trump on his last day in office, resigned from his post on Friday after being placed on administrative leave by the Biden administration on inauguration day, according to The Washington Post.
"I have been on administrative leave for nearly three months without any explanation or updates, and there is no sign that NSA will attempt to solve the issue. I therefore resign my position, effective immediately," Ellis wrote to NSA Director General Paul Nakasone in a letter published Saturday by The Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported that Ellis was shelved in January because he was the subject of a security inquiry regarding his handling of classified information along with being under investigation by the Department of Defense's Office of Inspector General (OIG) into the circumstances surrounding his selection as general counsel.
The last-minute installation of Ellis, a former Republican operative, drew considerable criticism from Democrats, who referred to him as a "Trump loyalist" according to Fox News, but his removal has drawn accustions of "political payback" from Republicans.
Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have demanded an inspector general's investigation into Ellis being placed on leave.
Nakasone on Friday told Congress that the inspector general inquiry into the circumstances of Ellis' hire remained open, reported the Hill.
However, Nakasone was "aware in December 2020 that the Department of Defense Inspector General had completed a preliminary review of the process that led to my selection and found no improper political influence," Ellis's letter stated according to the Hill.
Additionally, Fox News reported that then-president Barack Obama appointed two individuals politically tied to him: Glenn Gerstell, who served from 2015 to 2020 and raised $50,000 for the Obama campaign in 2012, and his predecessor, Raj De, who previously served as Obama’s White House staff secretary.
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