The House Intelligence Committee chairman said Tuesday that regime change in Libya is in the U.S.’s national security interests but stopped short of calling for the use of force to achieve it.
"I happen to think regime change is in the national security interests at this point," Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told The Hill. "The more people who are calling for what I think is the right position for the best interests for American national security, I'm for it."
Rogers's comments come as a number of lawmakers announced plans to introduce legislation to authorize the U.S. to oust Libyan dictator Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) plans to introduce a non-binding resolution expressing “the sense that United States policy should be to remove Moammar Gadhafi from power in Libya…,” including by the use of force, if necessary.
Last week Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) urged the Senate majority and minority leaders to offer a bipartisan measure that would authorize Obama to use force to remove Gadhafi. Another group of senators is also reportedly meeting to draft a similar resolution.
Rogers said that Gadhafi is under pressure in other ways to leave office.
"An increasing amount of pressure is being put on, we have seized about $30 billion of Gadhafi assets, Europeans have received $30 billion of Gadhafi assets,” Rogers said, adding that the Libyan rebels also are becoming more organized in the fight.
Rogers has supported Obama's decision to order U.S. involvement in Libya to enforce a United Nations Security Council no-fly zone resolution. His biggest criticism, he said, is that the president didn't seek Congress’s approval first.
Rogers said that, as intelligence chairman, he has felt well-informed on the military operation. But he stressed the importance of other lawmakers being kept up to speed.
"I have felt comfortable that I was briefed before, during, and after [the U.S. began performing airstrikes]," Rogers said. "The more information that members know, the more they can see what the risks."