Intel chief quits House for talk radio

Lauren Schneiderman

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is leaving Congress for a career in talk radio.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Friday he will not seek reelection in 2014, and will instead take a job as a syndicated talk radio host with Cumulus Radio.

On a radio program Friday morning, Rogers, who has become a familiar figure on the Sunday morning political affairs shows, said Michigan residents "may have lost my vote in Congress, but you haven't lost my voice."

In a statement from his office, Rogers said he always believed in the idea of a "citizen legislature" and had expected to return to the private sector.

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"It has been an honor to serve the people of Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District over the last 14 years," Rogers said. "We have accomplished so much together, and I am most proud of our work to turn the House Intelligence Committee into a true legislative and oversight body."

Rogers was first elected to the House in 2000 after serving in the Michigan state senate. He was appointed to lead the Intelligence Committee in 2011 after Republicans took back control of the chamber.

"But I have always believed in our founder’s idea of a citizen legislature," he continued in the statement. "I had a career before politics and always planned to have one after. The genius of our institutions is they are not dependent on the individual temporary occupants privileged to serve. That is why I have decided not to seek re-election to Congress in 2014."

"As I close this chapter in my life, I am excited to begin a new one that allows me to continue serving as a voice for American exceptionalism and support a strong national security policy agenda."

Last year, Rogers's name was floated for the Senate seat left open by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). He opted not to run despite the urging of some Republicans in the Senate, saying he thought he could have more of an impact in the House as leader of the Intelligence Committee.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) is next in line on the committee in seniority, but he is considered the front-runner to take over as chairman of the Armed Services Committee next year.

If Thornberry becomes Armed Services chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) would be next in line to take the Intelligence gavel, according to defense sources. Miller, currently chairman of the House Veterans Affairs' Committee, is "definitely interested" in the slot, according to a person close to him.

Rogers's name had also come up last year as the next director of the FBI. Rogers is a former FBI agent who stepped down from the force in 1995.

The FBI Agents Association had urged President Obama to select him to replace former director Robert Mueller. James Comey was ultimately nominated for the post.

“His unique and diverse experience as a veteran, FBI agent and member of Congress will allow him to effectively lead the men and women of the Bureau as they continue their work to protect our country from criminal and terrorist threats,” the group said at the time.

Rogers has been a strong voice on intelligence issues, foreign affairs and the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs during his time in Congress.

Critical of the NSA leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden, the Michigan Republican earlier this week introduced legislation on the NSA's collection of phone metadata.

Rogers's proposal calls for phone companies to retain phone metadata, rather than the government. Some civil liberties groups oppose the plan because the government would not be required to get a court order before searching for records — something proposed by the president.

As far as his new career, the Detroit News describes radio as a passion for Rogers from his college years at Adrian College in Michigan.

— Jeremy Herb contributed.

This story was updated at 11:12 a.m.  

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