Rogers to helm Intelligence panel

House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) selected Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) to head the House Intelligence Committee in the 112th Congress.

Rogers, a former FBI agent, defeated Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) to take the gavel atop the lower chamber's secretive select committee.

The Michigan lawmaker, serving his fifth term in the House, has grown close to Boehner in recent years. Boehner tapped Rogers to head the Republican leader's pet "State Solutions" project, which entails coordinating with GOP governors on policy matters.

Boehner explained his pick of Rogers in a statement on Wednesday.

“As a former FBI Agent and U.S. Army Officer, Mike Rogers’ experience and expertise has proven invaluable throughout his tenure on the Intelligence Committee," he said." It is incumbent upon the Intelligence Committee to ensure that Congress and the Obama Administration are supporting our intelligence professionals and providing them with the resources and authorities they need to keep America safe, and I look forward to working with Mike in his new role as Chairman."

Boehner also announed that Thornberry will serve as Vice-Chair of the Armed Services Committee. 

“Mac Thornberry is a real leader in our Conference on national security. His record on both the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees has shown him to be both an innovator and strategic thinker," Boehner said.

"I am backing him to be the next Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a role that will provide Mac with new responsibilities and opportunities to advance the security of our nation. I have also asked Mac to lead an initiative on cybersecurity that cuts across committee lines. I’m pleased he has agreed to play an expanded role on our team.”

Rogers also serves on the new Majority Transition Team, led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)

Colleagues say Rogers has a good rapport with his future Senate counterpart Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), as well as CIA Director Leon Panetta.

Because the panel that oversees the nation's intelligence agencies is a permanent select committee, Republican and Democratic party leaders have sole discretion as to which member serves in the top-ranking spot, as well as the committee membership.