NSA ally Mike Rogers to leave House intelligence committee for talk radio
Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian
Friday 28 March 2014 10.25 EDT
Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, the powerful chairman of the House intelligence committee and a former FBI agent, announced on Friday morning that he is leaving Congress at the end of his term to start a conservative talk radio show.
The surprise move comes four days after Rogers introduced a bill that would significantly constrain the NSA’s bulk collection of US phone data, a policy Rogers said he came to reluctantly after recognizing the lack of public and congressional confidence in the most domestically controversial of surveillance programs exposed by Snowden through the Guardian.
Rogers’s bill, however, provides fewer judicial obstacles to the government’s continued acquisition and search of phone and email data than does a competing proposal from members of the Senate and House judiciary committees and a new offering to end bulk data collection from the Obama administration.
Supporters of the latter proposals believe their efforts have been made tougher after the House parliamentarian, allegedly at the behest of the House speaker, John Boehner, gave the intelligence committee primary jurisdiction of Rogers’ bill on Thursday. Some House aides suspect the move is a prelude to a quick floor vote on the measure. But that was before Rogers announced his retirement, adding an unexpected element to the legislative competition.
When asked if the intelligence committee even knew how many more NSA disclosures were yet to come, Rogers’ chief Democratic ally on the committee, Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, quipped: “The Guardian will take care of that.”
Rogers thanked supporters in a statement announcing his retirement.
“As I close this chapter please know that I am not finished with the effort to bring back American exceptionalism,” Rogers said.