Happy Birthday to Me, Mike Rogers Edition

I’m going to level with you all. Today is my birthday.

And in honor of my birthday, apparently, two of my nemeses will shift their careers. At 3PM, Keith Alexander retires as Director of the NSA.

And in an entirely unexpected announcement, Congressman Mike Rogers announced he will not run for reelection this year.

Happy Birthday to me — and by extension, to all of you!

Now, Mike Rogers’ excuse for retiring — that he’s been offered a national radio show on Cumulus Radio — doesn’t make sense. Less than a year ago, when he decided not to run for Carl Levin’s seat, he said he felt he could still do a lot of good in the House. A key part of that, though, was that unlike other House Committees, the Republicans don’t term limit the Intelligence Committee Chair position (the Democrats don’t term limit anything). So a key reason Rogers gave was that he’d remain HPSCI Chair.

So I can’t help but wonder whether his departure has something to do with his Chairmanship of the Intelligence Community (the original announcement last night from The Hill was that he was resigning the Chairmanship, with the even more horrible Mike Pompeo to take his place, with no mention of him retiring from Congress).

And I honestly wonder whether Rogers got caught revealing information so sensitive that he was told, by the Intelligence Community, to take a hike. Remember that after Richard Shelby leaked news that the NSA had overheard warnings of the 9/11 attack before it happened, he not only stepped down as Ranking Member (he had been Chair) of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he left the Committee entirely. No one ever said that was the reason, but I’ve long assumed that’s what happens when you step over the line of acceptable leaking as a Gang of Four member — you quietly walk away at the end of the term.

Pete Hoekstra leaked very damaging information in his last term as House Intel Chair — that we had a real-time intercept on Anwar al-Awlaki — though he had already announced he was leaving the House to run for Governor.

Mind you, most of the high volume of classified information Mike Rogers leaks, he does so with the blessing of the Intelligence Committee, as Gang of Four members are increasingly expected to serve as cut-outs for the Intelligence Community. Plus, much of what he “leaks” is in fact disinformation. Still, there are a number of stories that reveal NSA intercepts, many placed with conservative journalists, that could very easily have come from him. Some of them have been deemed more immediately damaging than all of Snowden’s leaks. Rogers would be legally protected under the Speech and Debate Clause, but there’d be good reason to remove him from his sensitive position, if he had been discovered to be the source for those stories.

If that happened, I can imagine that facing the prospect of staying in the House without his powerful Intelligence gavel might persuade Rogers he’d rather froth up wingnuts for war on AM radio then while away with much less power in the House. Also, if he compromised intelligence, it’d explain why he’s not moving on to a sinecure with an Intelligence Contractor, as had been floated at different times in the last year or so.

Meanwhile, Rogers’ departure opens up a pretty decent opportunity for Democrats in a district they were otherwise (inexplicably) not going to seriously contest. The Clerk who married the first same sex couple last weekend, Barb Byrum, is among the potential Democratic candidates.

Anyway, at 3PM I shall raise a toast to the departure of Keith Alexander. And hope for better things in MI’s 8th CD.

35 replies
  1. ffein says:

    I thought of you this morning when I read the news about Rogers — good riddance. And Happy Birthday!!

  2. phred says:

    Happy Birthday EW! And such lovely presents, too : ) Too bad, birthdays only come once a year…

  3. Jim White says:

    I don’t suppose that FOIA could be used to determine whether Rogers has had his security clearance revoked, could it? And do we know if Shelby’s was revoked?

    • emptywheel says:

      Dunno. I bet that gets hidden under a 6 exemption, even ignoring that Congress can’t be FOIAed.

  4. P J Evans says:

    You were the first one I thought of when I saw that Mikey is leaving Congress.

    Happy birthday (and wishing you many more to come)!

  5. Phoenix Woman says:

    What’s really interesting here is how this story is being soft-pedaled in the national news. If he were a Democrat this would be the top news on every website and TV news show, yet NPR barely mentioned it this morning and CNN’s front page doesn’t have it at all, preferring instead to discuss things like David Cassidy’s substance abuse problems.

    If this were a sex scandal something would have leaked by now. But the utter silence on this front – coupled with the bullshit “I wanna be a talk show host” excuse (as if a powerful multiple term congress critter would willingly give up his perch to blather on the airwaves) – makes me think that you’ve nailed it.

  6. Peterr says:

    Raising a glass

    A toast . . .

    She writes more by noon than most write in a week,
    she sees each omission, misstatement, and leak.
    She checks every tittle, and tracks down each jot,
    made by bumblers and cowards, in office or not,
    who seek to mislead, disguise, and obscure
    yet Marcy refuses to bite at their lure.
    Impossibly patient, she follows each thread,
    bringing fear to wrongdoers and to scoundrels, much dread.
    For they know — oh, they know — just how thorough she’ll be
    and they’ll look — oh, they’ll look — for a safe place to flee.
    To the blogmistress here and the friends gathered round
    who read tomorrow’s news as today it is found.


  7. richard langness says:

    Happy birthday E-Dub! If people over time generally end up where they belong, then The Hague is going to get crowded. Not holding my breath.

  8. Nell says:

    Happy birthday, EW!

    Sound speculation re Rogers, lack of intel sinecure among stronger points in favor. On the human level, though: Imagine the relief of any MoC at deciding not to run again: no more fundraising! Consumes hours every. single. day.

  9. Teddy says:

    Given how often That Other Mike Rogers substitute-hosts on Mike Signorile’s radio show, this move of Chair Mike to the radiowaves doesn’t make things any less confusing!

    And Happy Birthday, Marcy… very glad to see you needn’t go away on vacation any more to get what you asked Santa for. Many happy returns of the day….

  10. Anonsters says:

    Still, there are a number of stories that reveal NSA intercepts, many placed with conservative journalists, that could very easily have come from him. Some of them have been deemed more immediately damaging than all of Snowden’s leaks. Rogers would be legally protected under the Speech and Debate Clause

    I don’t see how the Speech or Debate Clause would protect him. It only covers things done “in the sphere of legitimate legislative activity.” There’s no way leaking classified information to reporters could be considered “legitimate legislative activity.”

    The heart of the clause is speech or debate in either House, and insofar as the clause is construed to reach other matters, they must be an integral part of the deliberative and communicative processes by which Members participate in committee and House proceedings with respect to the consideration and passage or rejection of proposed legislation or with respect to other matters which the Constitution places within the jurisdiction of either House.

    Gravel v. United States, 408 U.S. 606, 625 (1972).

    • Peterr says:

      Now, now. I’m sure Rogers can make the connections between his leaking and “the deliberative and communicative processes” by which the House does its work. I can easily see Rogers speaking to the court in his own defense . . .

      I did not leak the materials that are alleged to have come from me. But even if I did, it’s part of the ordinary legislative process in DC. Members of the House regularly communicate with one another and their constituents via the media, quite often by anonymously providing materials to the media on background. See US v Libby, “Testimony of Tim Russert”.

      In further support of my contention that this is the standard operating procedure of the House, I intend to call as witnesses Andrea Mitchell and Luke Russert of NBC News, as well as Mike Allen of Tiger Beat on the Potomac, and the Village Hostess Supreme, Sally Quinn . . .

      Rogers will be fine.

  11. bittersweet says:

    Happy Birthday Marcy!
    You are the best!

    I am remembering the day you launched this site, and the cocktails we all raised. I will make you one this evening. 100% agave tequila, limes, Cointreau, fresh raspberries and whatever herb has survived the winter, rosemary I guess.

    (Hears hoping that Mike Rogers is not just delaying announcing his revolving door position.)

  12. Frank33 says:

    Emptywheel is a national treasure and freedom fighter.

    Let us all say Happy Birthday! and many more!

    As a present to us all, one of our military dictators, and serial liar, General Alexander is leaving the corrupt US government, and will probably become a privatized SpyMaster, contractor making millions of dollars from taxpayers. But all these Generals, Alexander, Petraeus, Hayden, Clappers are despicable and they are Clear and Present Danger to the Constitution and the American people.

    But we all hope Emptywheel will continue to expose these rotten assassins and torturers. These corrupt Generals only accomplishments have been (1) to create more enemies against America, and (2) to assist the One Percent who plunder and pollute the planet and impoverish the Ninety Nine percent.

  13. klynn says:

    Happy birthday EW! Enjoy your raised glass!

    What a great birthday present! If I were to pick a gift to give you, these two would have been on my list.

    Hope your year is filled with many blessings and continued keen insight!

  14. john francis lee says:

    Happy birthday MT wheel. Mickey is just going through the revolving door to join Kristi on the cash-collecting side. Now that spying will be privatized he’ll be eligible for hundreds of millions in payoffs.

    You haven’t let slip the main reason to ‘play’ politics in our USA, have you?

    His announcement undoubtedly coincides with the ‘real’ deal … hundreds of millions to ‘direct’ the privatized dragnet on the ‘outside’. Just like Kristi.

  15. Peterr says:

    Mr Pierce, after speculating about the various theories (conspiracy and otherwise) about Rogers’ resignation — because it would be irresponsible not to speculate, right? — offers this conclusion:

    . . . when you take the wide view of things, in the power rankings of the conservative fauna, a successful talk-show host may be a higher order of being than a mere congresscritter, no matter how high his profile. So much of American conservatism now is made up of wind and bullshit that a true artist can rise in influence without ever having to face those pesky voters — or, given a talented call screener, without ever having to answer an opposing argument ever again. So maybe Rogers is out there making an actual career move. Stranger things have happened.

    Works for me. What True Conservative could turn down the opportunity to have an sinecure that provides him with influence without accountability?

  16. pdaly says:

    Happy Birthday, emptywheel.
    Maybe you should celebrate half birthdays, too, to shake loose more corrupt government officials.

    In any case, now you deserve a vacation–and we all know that major news breaks when you do that.

  17. burnt says:

    Merry Birthday!

    Bittersweet and I are rolling over to our LBS (local bike shop) to wish one of our messenger friends well since it is his last day as a working bicycle messenger. We’ll toast you and Mr. Rogers. Keep up the good research.

  18. ess emm says:

    Happy Birthday, ew. And many more!

    The only thing I guarantee about Rogers’s replacement is that he/she will be another sociopath.

  19. chronicle says:

    Happy B’day ew. And what a birthday gift. I bet that calls for a celebration of biblical proportions. I only wish we were celebrating a prison cell door slamming on Alexander’s ass. As for Rogers, I suspect something is brewing under HIS ass. Trading the Chair of the IC for a chair in front of a mic, on an AM station no less..seems to suggest Russel Tice is rolling on the floor in gut splitting laughter. Hope springs eternal. Actually, from what I’ve read on a local Michigan blog from his hometown.. well, I’ll leave it at that.

    Speaking of radio..in Michigan…..ummm… did Michigan suffer a time warp or something..good god. Coming from Oregon, after listening to the entire dial..FM and AM…I thought I stepped in to a bona fide bizzarro time warp. Holy mother of Arthur Godfrey.

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