The National Security Agency's director, Gen. Keith Alexander, offered to resign from his post shortly after Edward Snowden began leaking classified government documents, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, the Obama administration rejected his offer.
Snowden, a former NSA contractor, began disclosing documents detailing the agency’s surveillance programs in June.
Top administration officials' confidence in Alexander was shaken, the Journal reports, because he oversaw the agency during the security lapse, an unidentified former senior defense official told the paper.
But an Alexander resignation, the official added, would indicate Snowden won, and wouldn’t solve the security problem.
Alexander is expected to step down from his role in spring 2014.
In an October speech, he revealed Snowden has leaked up to 200,000 documents to the media this year.
Snowden faces espionage charges in the US, and has been campaigning for them to be dropped. He has been living in Russia since August after its government granted him temporary asylum.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll last week indicated that a majority, 60 percent, of the public believes his leaks had damaged US national security.
The poll found 53 percent disapprove of the way President Obama has handled the NSA’s surveillance operations.
Obama has ordered for a panel to review of NSA’s programs, and is expected to complete the report by Dec. 15. The Hill