Mike Rogers: IRS Scandal Is Real, NSA Scandal Is Not; AP Collection Is a Dragnet, Section 215 Collection Is Not

One of the four members of Congress with greatest influence over this country’s “intelligence,” House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers, claims that the IRS scandal is real and the risk of NSA dragnet is not.

Rogers said Amash’s amendment, which stops the NSA from collecting data under the Patriot Act, was an attempt to take advantage of anger over recent scandals including the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status and the Justice Department’s probe of Associated Press journalists in connection to a leak about a thwarted terrorist plot that originated in Yemen.

“It’s certainly inflammatory and certainly misleading,” Rogers said Wednesday in an interview on Michigan radio station WTKG 1230. “I think, he tried to take advantage at any rate of people’s anger of the IRS scandal, which is real, and the AP —Associated Press dragnet by the Attorney General, Benghazi —all of those things are very real and there’s no oversight function “What they’re talking about doing is turning off a program that after 9/11 we realized we missed —we the intelligence community- missed a huge clue.” [my emphasis]

Note, too, that Rogers calls the (completely inappropriate) collection of the phone records for 20 AP phone lines a “dragnet,” but somehow doesn’t think the collection of the phone records for every single American is also a dragnet.

Again, this dude plays a significant role in this country’s “intelligence.”

From there, Rogers declined into outright misinformation.

Rogers added that NSA’s telephone data collection program has helped thwart over 50 terrorist plots.

The Section 215 collection — the only thing that would be affected by the Amash-Conyers amendment — has had a role in (per Keith Alexander’s latest claims) 13 plots.

Not 50.


I can’t think of a better way for Mike Rogers to demonstrate that these programs have insufficient oversight — in which the Intelligence Committees play a crucial role — than to open his yap and make such ludicrous statements.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

14 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    It appears that Mike Rogers is in need of some intelligence.
    (Do Republicans have to take some kind of test to run for office, where the higher the score, the less wanted they are?)

  2. C says:

    Per OpenSecrets.org Mike Rogers recieved more than $120,000 from the “Defense Aerospace” and “Defense Electronics” industries in the 2011-2012 campaign year up from around 100k in 2010: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2012&type=C&cid=N00024759&newMem=N&recs=20

    His career totals for Defense Aerospace, Defense Electronics and “Misc Defense” tops 600k: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=Career&type=C&cid=N00024759&newMem=N&recs=20

    His leadership PAC is called the “American Security PAC”: http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00439521

    As a result these statements should not be a surprise.

  3. Frank33 says:

    The NSA stopped 50 Terror Plots. These were plots created by the CIA and the FBI. Remember AP-Gate was about a False Flag Bombing against an airliner by another Underwear Bomber. The attacker, Undie #2, was going to return to Al Qaeda-Central, after the attack. And Undie #2 would continue more Undie plots FOR YEARS.

    The Spymasters have had ten or twenty years of Spy-Dragnet. And perhaps they will soon win some hearts and minds. I doubt it, they only create enemies. And they promise they will not win the Global War on Terror for years.

  4. Fractal says:


    At 6:31 pm EDT, House is currently voting on the “Pompeo” amendment which supporters claimed would protect Americans’ privacy, making the Amash amendment unnecessary. Current vote is 106 Yea, 12 Nay, with 316 not voting (NV).

    Supporters of the Amash amendment rejected the claims by supporters of the Pompeo amendment. The wingnuts who run the House are giving a looooong vote on the Pompeo amendment, at least “15 minutes.” Then they will give a very fast vote on the Amash amendment, only two minutes. House Intel Chair Mike Rogers and all the other surveillance state stooges clearly are pulling several tricks to obstruct & defeat the Amash uprising.

  5. Fractal says:

    With time remaining of 2:05 the vote on Pompeo amendment is now Yeas 174 (122 GOP, 52 Dems), 18 Nays.

  6. Fractal says:

    time remaining has been “zero” for the past two or three minutes, and votes continue pouring in for the Pompeo amendment. Now 338 Yeas, 14 Nays, 82 NV. Two dozen votes were tallied during the 40 seconds I spent writing this.

  7. lysias says:

    I think there’s no inconsistency in voting for both the Pompeo and Amash amendments, so even those who support the Amash amendment will vote for the Pompeo amendment. Hence the lopsided vote in favor of the Pompeo amendment. Nobody wants to be on record as opposing its modest requirements.

  8. Fractal says:

    Voting on Amash amendment started up immediately after Pompeo was swept in by over 400 votes after holding the Pompeo vote open for 20 extra minutes (what a joke).

    Rough final tally on Amash, 201 Yeas to 218 Nays. Shit! But GOP votes in the Yea column ran very strong!

  9. Fractal says:

    @lysias: yes.

    Correction to final tally on Amash amendment: one of the “Nay” votes either switched to “Yea” or abstained, because C-Span says the final tally was Yeas 205, Nays 217. Some kind of symbolic or face-saving effort to avoid showing that an absolute majority of the House was opposed. Not sure who is the intended target of such a signal, if it was a signal.

    A switch of just seven votes would have passed the Amash amendment by 212-210. Very close.

  10. geoschmidt says:

    What a great thing/concept… that never was…

    Honest representative democracy, and so on… what a great con, Martha!

    Alex deTocqocville… ” Za grreat domocracy of America… eet will succumb one day to that time when those who know how to manipulate the system… will realize that they can put the whole system to work for their own purposes and strip the country of all wealth to their own……….. (VERY ROUGH paraphraze of what I think is the thesis of the book written: “Democracy in America”

  11. geoschmidt says:

    Geesus Christopher! No comment on the above refference to the GGGGGGreat Alexis De Tochville’s famous words! just… crickets…. chirp chirp etc.

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