Mike Rogers Continues to Thwart Fully Informed Representative Government

Garance Franke-Ruta transcribes Justin Amash telling a remarkable story about another Mike Rogers’ attempt, back in August, to prevent elected representatives of American citizens from learning about details of the dragnet. After multiple tries, one of Amash’s colleagues finally won a game of 20 Questions with intelligence briefers.

And to show you how silly this whole thing gets, I had a colleague, one of my — I won’t say his name here, but he went to a number of classified briefings. And he asked a question and he never got a satisfactory answer. So he would just revise the question from briefing to briefing. By the time he got to to the third or fourth briefing he asked it in just the right way. He had figured out how to ask it in exactly the right way to get the answer he needed and of course, then they said, “Oh, you caught us. Yeah, we do do that.” Then we said, “Can you provide us with some more information?” and they said, “We’ll check, we’ll see if we can provide you with more information. We’ll see if we can provide you with a document” about this thing that he discovered.

And so we left that briefing and we said, “OK, we’re going to see something very interesting here.”

So when the Intelligence Community passed on this document to Intelligence Committee Chair Rogers to share with the victor of this particular game of 20 Questions and others, here’s how he distributed it. On August 3, he announced it would be available for 3 hours on August 4, on a Friday (when many members would already have left). He announced it on what Amash describes as a kind of spam folder.

They sent it through the “Dear Colleague” system. This is a system that, it’s almost like a spam folder, frankly. Not everyone in Congress is signed up to it. And basically it’s a system where you send letters to your colleagues — will you cosponsor my bill, will you sign my [unclear], that kind of thing. Normally if you’re getting information about an upcoming briefing or an upcoming document that’s going to be available to members of Congress, you would get an email. An email, a normal email would come to you, to all members of Congress saying, “Hey there’s a document that’s going to be available, come stop by.” But no, we got it through the “Dear Colleague” system. And the only reasons we noticed is because one of my staffers is silly enough to have this damn folder and look through it and she helped find it and she alerted me, “Hey we’ve got this document that’s going to be available tomorrow, and it’s going to be available between 9 a.m. and noon.” And it’s available between 9 a.m. and noon on the day when members of Congress are leaving to go back to their districts.

Amash and the few colleagues he alerted were the only ones who viewed the document and they all had to sign nondisclosures preventing them from telling their colleagues.

This is the second of these instances that have become public (though it appears Rogers also may not have distributed a 2012 notice on Section 702). This one happened 6 days before the Administration’s White Paper, reflecting an awareness that Rogers had not sent on its 2011 Section 215 notice, was published. At some point soon, we’ll have to assume this is happening not just because Mike Rogers hates democracy, but because the Administration does too.

11 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    The MSM have noticed (finally) that Clapper is actually in charge of the ‘independent’ review panel.

    Also, Pete King is claiming that the mall-attack terrorists were recruited in the US. Nothing on how he knows this, of course.

  2. lefty665 says:

    The 20 questions game between the intelligence community and Congress has gone on forever. Ask the right question, get the right answer. Few congress critters have been willing invest the effort to become either witting or persistent. That may not be good, but it ain’t news.

    What may be remarkable is the committee chair withholding information from, or playing access games with, committee members (especially of his own party).

  3. Ben Franklin says:

    Lawyer tricks. Witholding information gets a pass on the prevarication scale. It’s nothing new, except that Americans, or even colleagues are told to grow mushrooms in their cracks while bastids like Rogers dine on the details. Such is the nature of our Constitutional Republic; you know, the one we can’t keep.

  4. prostratedragon says:

    In his occasional Mississippi farmboy lapses my father would say of someone who had made an exceptionally clear presentation of some matter that they had put it “where a purblind fool could find it.”

    Sometimes it’s good to do that regarding these public management schemes, so that we all know where we are.

  5. mzchief says:

    Since Michigan/Great Lakes/adjoining portion of Canada sits atop portions of Marcellus Shale ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcellus_shale#Extent ), I guess the Howell, MI folks ( http://ow.ly/p6dd4 http://ow.ly/p6dp5 ) won’t figure out until it’s too late that their blind support for the nuke-hugger ( http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/25534-why-i-support-nuclear-energy-rep-mike-rogers ) FBI KKK ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan ) was a bad idea until after they wake up fracked into a radioactive wasteland ( http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20130911/NEWS01/309110006/1002/rss01 ) by Bandar Bush and company ( http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=60021995 http://www.blackstone.com/the-firm/overview/our-people/hutham-olayan ).

  6. bg says:

    Thanks for the info. I don’t think there is any question that the PTB hates democracy and our freedoms and all such like that.

    Nagabe hopin’ for any change anymore, nope, sure not.

  7. peasantparty says:

    The remark that Stewart Baker made about people should not expect privacy when they give their info out electronically continues to piss me off royally.

    Since business and dollars appear to be the only things they listen to, I think we need to also include our focus on the businesses. Also, the fact that just because we all use electronics, it does not mean our privacy is open to anybody working for any old contractor to see and hear.

    Still, as they say in certain circles; this is only the tip of the iceberg!

  8. peasantparty says:

    Going back to Baker’s comment:

    I doubt very seriously that anybody that goes to buy their own personal electronic product, either a computer or cell phone considered that as willingly giving the NSA all their privacy rights. They used their own hard earned money to buy a personal product.

    When the same person agrees to use a cell provider, landline provider, or ISP, they are paying for a Service. Nobody knew until recently that all the service providers were gathering up everything to ship over to NSA as you type or talk it. None of us considered that our own service providers would do this collection, or even consider millions of innocent customers to their products on the same level as a terrorist.

    My Peasant Pitchfork has three prongs. Most operations have three prongs at the base. I think we should spread the focus and continue to shine a light on all three.

  9. john francis lee says:

    With Mike Rogers it’s a family affair … and all about family values … those that show up on the bottom-line. All the bottome feeders in Washington DC are very bottom-line/revolving door conscious.

    All’s fair in the war of all against all.

    The beatings will continue until we replace the 546 bottom feeders in Washington DC.

Comments are closed.