White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday confirmed that National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander would step down early next year but downplayed suggestions his departure had anything to do with recent damaging leaks from Edward Snowden.

Carney said that Alexander had “spoken to the president about a number of weeks ago” and that his decision to retire was something he “indicated he would be doing.”

He added that Alexander’s tenure had been extended three times to continue as the chief of the surveillance agency.

Intelligence Committee senators on Wednesday confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Alexander would be departing, following initial reports from Reuters.

Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told the Examiner that Alexander would likely step down in April of 2014.

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