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Statement by The Honorable Mike Rogers on FBI Director James Comey

May 9, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: jordana@mikerogers.com
202-872-9800

Washington, D.C. – “The FBI is one of our nation’s most important law enforcement agencies.

Today’s news will undoubtedly lead to some uncertainty in the coming days as the Bureau and its fine women and men come to terms with the impending transition.

It is absolutely critical that this process is as smooth and efficient as possible to ensure that the FBI gets back on its feet and resumes its focus on its critical law enforcement, national security, and counter intelligence missions.”

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Statement by The Honorable Mike Rogers on the Recent Developments on the National Security Council

February 15, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: jordana@mikerogers.com
202-872-9800

Washington, D.C. – “The United States faces significant, complex, and serious national security challenges across the globe. Successfully navigating this dangerous landscape requires the full marshaling of our country’s national power towards carefully considered strategic objectives.

Recent developments present an opportunity to realign the National Security Council to ensure that the president and key decision makers receive the best intelligence product to make the most informed decisions possible. Regardless of whoever is the national security adviser, he or she will need to bring judgment and experience to the post, and the ability to deftly manage the national security architecture during times of crisis.

Make no mistake about it, our allies and adversaries alike are watching how we as a nation conduct our affairs.”

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The extreme risk of Trump’s battle with intelligence agencies

January 18, 2017

By Mike Rogers

Tuesday, January 18, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As the 2016 election receded and the New Year began, there emerged a curious confrontation between the President-elect and the intelligence communities.

Day after day, we saw news roll out of clashes over scheduled meetings, the accuracy of information and analysis, and what the future holds for the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and indeed the future orientation of America’s intelligence organs. This tension has continued unabated. It is important to recognize that there is always some friction between an incoming president and his (or, in the future, her) intelligence agencies. During the transition and the early days of the presidency, the occupant of the Oval Office and his intelligence representatives participate in a choreographed dance — each learning about the other and adjusting styles and tones (delivery, not facts) to suit respective needs.

What is unique about these most recent incidents is the public nature of the disagreements between President-elect Trump and the intelligence officials. Of course, in the past, stories of how and what intelligence the president consumed would leak out. It is part of the insider politics of Washington. However, never before have the disagreements taken on such a high profile in the media. President-elect Trump takes to Twitter to air his disagreements with, or criticisms of, the intelligence community and just as quickly the agencies themselves fire back.

While discomforting for many and interesting for others, there is an unrecognized consequence of these public disputes and one that greatly risks our future intelligence collection capabilities. Chief among these is the message it sends to our current and future intelligence professionals. Our greatest resource is the quality and capabilities of the hardworking, dedicated women and men that make up our intelligence cadre.

These disputes may well already be taking a toll on that workforce, with experienced professionals possibly choosing to leave for the private sector, rather than continue their service under these conditions. We can’t afford to lose these individuals; the wealth of experience and knowledge they possess is immeasurable. Moreover, constant bickering between the Oval Office and the various agencies risks reducing the attractiveness of service to future applicants; why join to serve if your service and analysis will be belittled, ignored or be unappreciated?

Let’s look internationally: Picture yourself as a government official in a foreign country that is hostile to the United States. For various and deeply personal reasons you have decided that you want to betray your country and begin passing sensitive, useful information to CIA officers. In so doing you are risking your life, the lives of your loved ones, and certain imprisonment, or worse, if you are caught. You do this not only for your own reasons, but because you believe that the information you will pass on to CIA officers will be accepted, reviewed and used to inform American policies. You fundamentally believe that you will be listened to and taken seriously.

This is how, and why, countless spies and intelligence “assets” have provided critical information to the United States. While some stood to gain personally, others were motivated ideologically, by pride, or something else, but all believed that in so doing they would be listened to and respected. In light of these very public disputes, it is entirely possible that they may no longer have that certainty. If the president and his intelligence chiefs are at odds, what is the likelihood that the intelligence information will be heeded? If there isn’t a high degree of confidence, why would you risk your life?

Moreover, implicit in the officer-agent relationship is trust and secrecy. CIA officers protect their sources often at great cost. If the information is accidentally or intentionally disclosed, agents’ lives are put at risk. Without complete confidence in their handlers, agents or potential agents will undoubtedly be wary of volunteering or cooperating in the future.

On an international level, we should be equally concerned about how this ongoing dispute appears to our partner intelligence services in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Some of our greatest intelligence successes have been due, in part, to the cooperation our intelligence agencies enjoy with their foreign counterparts. If it appears that the president does not trust the quality and accuracy of CIA intelligence assessments, why should Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service or Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst?

It is critical that the president and his intelligence team work to establish a good working relationship. While there will be friction and conflict, it is necessary that this takes place behind closed doors. Make no mistake about it, our allies and adversaries, potential spies and agents, and everyone in between are watching, listening and waiting. We can’t afford for internal disputes to affect real-world operations.

-Mike Rogers is a CNN national security commentator, the host of CNN’s “Declassified” TV series, and is the past chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.Read full piece on CNN here.

Kremlin disinformation and practiced intimidation

December 29, 2016

By Mike Rogers

Monday, December 26, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It seems that every day brings a new revelation of Russian aggression. From the invasions of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, to the situation in Syria today, the Putin regime’s actions have reached a level that not even the most paranoid Kremlinologists would have predicted just a few years ago.

Russia’s exercises in blunt, hard power are complemented by a covert soft-power campaign, designed to insulate the state from challenges at home and abroad. And with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee by operatives tied to the Russian government, many Americans are only now becoming aware of what once might have seemed like a foreign concern.

The hacking of government entities and public institutions, the use of “troll factories” to silence and intimidate critics, and the dissemination of disinformation are just a few of the tactics employed to exert influence and sow division among the Kremlin’s adversaries. Russia has always attempted to penetrate influential agencies and institutions that could give it a strategic advantage. But under Vladimir Putin, and using new technological means, the scope of these efforts has widened dramatically — with targets ranging from foreign governments and politicians, to Olympic athletes and NGOs.

In addition to the cyberattacks against entities such as the U.S. financial system, Europe is a particular target for manipulation — and perhaps an even more vulnerable environment, taking into account its physical proximity and adjacent borders. Russian military incursions into Ukrainian territory have been matched by an aggressive campaign to undermine core state institutions through cyberattacks. Most recently, Russians are believed to be behind this month’s malware attack on Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance.

Germany, France and the Netherlands will all go to the polls in 2017 amid fears of Russian interference; in Germany, the head of the foreign intelligence agency has warned that Russian hackers may attempt to interfere with the election in order to cause “political uncertainty” in Germany. German intelligence services believe Russian hackers working for the state were behind cyberattacks carried out against the German parliament in 2015. This combination of hacking to undermine trust in institutions and the dissemination of propaganda is corrosive to western democracy. It is one of the reasons the European Parliament is calling for institutional investment to raise awareness of Russian disinformation activities.

In the U.S., we must take action to prevent this activity, both for the sake of our own national security and the security of our European allies. The “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act,” co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, and Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, was included as part of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act and represents an important step. This bipartisan bill will establish an interagency center at the State Department to coordinate counterpropaganda efforts across the U.S. government. The legislation would significantly expand the range of tools available to confront the effects of disinformation spread by the Kremlin and other authoritarian powers that seek asymmetric means to undermine stronger economic, political and military systems.

That this issue has inspired significant legislation is a testament to the seriousness of the threat. That is one of the reasons why I’ve become involved with IRI’s Beacon Project — an effort designed to expose and counter Russian disinformation in Europe, where the campaign to subvert democracy through these tactics is particularly aggressive. This month, the Beacon Project launched a new tool to collect and track the origin and dissemination patterns of these false narratives, helping decision makers gain insight into the nature of this problem in order to design effective policy responses.

Policy on such a strategic threat requires a concerted effort among the U.S. and our European partners, and that we further our constructive, communicative relationships. To push back against Russian propaganda, we must work together to maintain continuously factual, credible messaging that highlights the importance of our democratic institutions, as well as the irony and bankruptcy of Russian efforts to undermine them.

It’s important not only that policy and media leaders understand the reality of Russian aggression, and the diffuse and often innovative ways the Kremlin has found to exert influence and intimidate opponents, but that American and European constituencies do as well. Our leaders must marshal their resolve and ingenuity to highlight and oppose these tactics in all their forms, and integrate our public affairs, diplomacy, and intelligence efforts accordingly.

-Mike Rogers, a CNN national security commentator, is the host of CNN’s “Declassified” TV series, the past chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and a member of the Beacon Project.

Read full piece in The Washington Times here.

U.S. must not overlook North Korea threat

December 3, 2016

by Mike Rogers

(CNN) North Korea’s 32-year-old leader is often mocked online, on TV shows and in movies, but it is believed Kim Jong Un could have 50 to 100 nuclear weapons by 2020 — a reality that should give a chill to anyone tempted to dismiss Kim as anything less than serious. Recognizing the threat, this week the UN Security Council voted unanimously to introduce new sanctions, stating that North Korea should abandon its nuclear weapons program.

As the next administration takes power, it must recognize that we cannot use sanctions and food aid to bring North Korea to the negotiating table only to watch it continue its destabilizing behavior once it receives the aid. Let’s learn from our past mistakes and be sure we address the nuclear elephant in the room. An Iran with “the bomb” clearly would be catastrophic, but we already have a nuclear armed rogue state — and its sophistication is growing.

True, many of North Korea’s policies seem wildly belligerent. But they have often produced specific returns in the form of diplomatic or economic concessions. The big question, though, is where the political and military leadership align with Kim’s own impulses.

Kim is ruthless in his pursuit of power — he has had dozens of senior officials executed, including reportedly by anti-aircraft cannon. And, like his father, Kim has continued policies that have left many thousands starving. Indeed, he is a man who has an absolute authority that rests on his whims — Kim is not the head of a democratic republic with political checks and balances, nor does he have to juggle the power structure within a more autocratic nation like China.

But he may not always be a rational actor. He executed his uncle not long after taking power, an official who was his strongest connection to China, his nation’s economic lifeline. In a country that relies on aid packages and black market goods to try to feed its people, that should give you pause.

Continuing to demonstrate his autonomy from his patron state, Kim also recently ignored Chinese warnings about his weapons tests. This past summer, Kim tested a missile that for the first time landed within the Japanese air defense zone. It was fired from a submerged submarine, which passes a high technical threshold, and could present a greater detection difficulty to regional missile defense systems. Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) are a technology few nations possess and allow force projection far outside of a nation’s boundaries.

Kim’s antagonistic behavior has apparently so ruffled the Chinese that they have joined the United States in facilitating sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations. Yet many Americans are probably more familiar with Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il.

The second-generation ruler of North Korea tested two nuclear weapons during his 17-year reign, a number already surpassed by his son, who since becoming leader in 2011 has tested three nuclear devices. North Korea conducted its largest nuclear weapon test yet in early September, showing it is progressing in its development, not just deploying its current models to saber rattle.

Since taking power, Kim has continued anti-US rhetoric, brushed off warnings from China, increased his rate of nuclear and missile tests in continued defiance of UN sanctions and now has SLBM technology. The level of concern was enough to prompt reaction by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who stated last month that any nuclear attack on the United States or our allies would result in an “overwhelming” response.

All this suggests that while the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — and the siege of Mosul — dominate what US TV news airtime is not spent on postelection coverage, the growing belligerence of North Korea under Kim should be getting greater attention.

The United States should leverage its diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military capabilities to deter and prevent continued North Korean weapons development. We must strengthen our regional allies’ missile-defense capabilities, ramp up pressure on Russia and China to exercise their influence on the regime, convince China to end the black market flow of goods across the border and increase sanctions on the North Korean elite so they feel the consequences of their actions.

Periods of presidential transition in Washington, DC and the first days of a new government have been times in which our adversaries have tested us in the past. It is imperative that our national security leaders are ready to do more than simply fight terrorism, because our adversaries don’t wait patiently in line.

Read full piece at CNN.com here.

Statement by The Honorable Mike Rogers on the Selection of Rep. Mike Pompeo as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

November 18, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: jordana@mikerogers.com
202-629-4083

Washington, D.C. – “President-elect Donald J. Trump has made an excellent choice for the next Director of the CIA.

Congressman Mike Pompeo is a friend of mine and a friend of the intelligence community. Once confirmed, his military and legal backgrounds will serve him well in one of the United States government’s most demanding jobs.

As Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, I watched how Mike Pompeo worked. Smartly, deliberately, and quietly. That ethos will fit in perfectly at CIA.”

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Statement in Response to Pat Caddell

November 17, 2016

Andy Keiser, Spokesperson to The Honorable Mike Rogers

“The mainstream media twisted Mike Rogers’ words and the findings of the Benghazi report to protect Hillary Clinton.  Mike Rogers lambasted Hillary Clinton and supported Donald Trump on television and radio for the past 18 months.  The implication that he is soft on Hillary Clinton is absurd.

It is time that all media fact check their stories for accuracy. The House Intelligence Committee has jurisdiction over the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, not the State or Defense Departments. The House Intelligence Committee Benghazi report said that Hillary Clinton dismissed repeated threat warnings and denied requests for additional security in eastern Libya, thereby placing U.S. personnel at unnecessary risk.  It also found that Clinton perpetuated an inaccurate story that matched the Administration’s misguided view that the United States was nearing a victory over al-Qa’ida. Consequently, Congressman Rogers voted to create The Benghazi Select Committee to pursue further investigation into those failures.

Further, the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Benghazi was STRICTLY an intelligence investigation.  The Committee interviewed every single member of the intelligence community who was in the fight in Benghazi.

Further, Caddell’s comments are completely inaccurate and slanderous.  There is absolutely no merit to this conspiracy story.  Media must be held accountable to pushing such erroneous stories. “His wife” had no involvement with companies protecting the embassies or any embassy at that time. There was absolutely no conflict of interest.  Caddell’s comments are patently proven to be false.  Specious and untrue accusations should not be tolerated in this important debate.”

Response to The Weekly Standard

November 16, 2016

From Andy Keiser, spokesperson for The Honorable Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers lambasted Hillary Clinton on television and radio for 18 months.  The implication by the “Never Trump” Weekly Standard that he is soft on Hillary Clinton is absurd.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s (HPSCI) investigation into Benghazi was STRICTLY an intelligence investigation.  The Intelligence Committee has jurisdiction over the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, not the State Department.  The Foreign Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over the State Department.  The HPSCI report certainly didn’t clear Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing, instead it pointed out numerous failures at the State Department and Congressman Rogers voted to create The Benghazi Select Committee to pursue further investigation into those failures.

The Chairman’s Additional Views submitted as part of the Benghazi report, which was approved UNANIMOUSLY, stated:

“Senior State Department officials [I.E. Hillary Clinton] dismissed repeated threat warnings and denied requests for additional security in eastern Libya, thereby placing U.S. personnel at unnecessary risk. 

Senior U.S. officials [I.E. Hillary Clinton] perpetuated an inaccurate story that matched the Administration’s misguided view that the United States was nearing a victory over al-Qa’ida. 

The Administration’s failed policies [I.E. Hillary Clinton] continue to undermine the national security interests of the United States.”

Chairman Rogers’ OpEd in The Hill after the report was submitted stated:

The Obama administration’s White House and State Department actions before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012, ranged from incompetence to deplorable political manipulation in the midst of an election season.

The State Department ignored numerous, consistent intelligence warnings about the threat environment in Benghazi and was woefully unprepared to operate in a high threat environment like Benghazi. 

For months after the attacks, senior White House officials, including President Obama, grossly misled the American people about what happened and why.  I believe that they did this to further their own inaccurate view that they had al Qa’ida “on the run”; and with an election looming they did not want to be responsible for a terrorist attack on their watch.

HPSCI interviewed every single member of the intelligence community who was in the fight in Benghazi.  Because it is not within its jurisdiction, HPSCI did not interview Department of State or Department of Defense personnel.  That is why Congressman Rogers voted to create the Benghazi Select Committee, to further look into the unconscionable Obama Administration failures in those areas.

Finally, Mike Rogers has repeatedly called all of the CIA personnel on the ground in Benghazi heroes.  Were it not for their actions, every single American would have been killed that tragic night on September 11, 2012.

For months, Mike Rogers did everything in his power to elect Donald Trump, while the Weekly Standard did everything in its power to defeat him.

Response to Judicial Watch’s Who Was Mike Rogers and Dick Morris’ Lunch Alert

November 16, 2016

From Andy Keiser, spokesperson for The Honorable Mike Rogers

“Mike Rogers lambasted Hillary Clinton on television and radio for 18 months.  To try to imply that he is soft on Hillary Clinton is absurd.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s (HPSCI) investigation into Benghazi was STRICTLY an intelligence investigation.  The Intelligence Committee has jurisdiction over the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, not the State Department.  The Foreign Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over the State Department.  The HPSCI report certainly didn’t clear Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing, instead it pointed out numerous failures at the State Department and Congressman Rogers voted to create The Benghazi Select Committee to pursue further investigation into those failures.

The Chairman’s Additional Views submitted as part of the Benghazi report, which was approved UNANIMOUSLY, stated:

“Senior State Department officials [I.E. Hillary Clinton] dismissed repeated threat warnings and denied requests for additional security in eastern Libya, thereby placing U.S. personnel at unnecessary risk. 

Senior U.S. officials [I.E. Hillary Clinton] perpetuated an inaccurate story that matched the Administration’s misguided view that the United States was nearing a victory over al-Qa’ida. 

The Administration’s failed policies [I.E. Hillary Clinton] continue to undermine the national security interests of the United States.”

Chairman Rogers’ OpEd in The Hill after the report was submitted stated:

The Obama administration’s White House and State Department actions before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012, ranged from incompetence to deplorable political manipulation in the midst of an election season.

The State Department ignored numerous, consistent intelligence warnings about the threat environment in Benghazi and was woefully unprepared to operate in a high threat environment like Benghazi. 

For months after the attacks, senior White House officials, including President Obama, grossly misled the American people about what happened and why.  I believe that they did this to further their own inaccurate view that they had al Qa’ida “on the run”; and with an election looming they did not want to be responsible for a terrorist attack on their watch.”

If Mike Rogers was trying to whitewash something, he didn’t do a very good job.

There is absolutely no merit to the salacious, conspiracy part of this “story.”  Mike and Kristi Rogers are sought-after experts who happen to work in a similar field.  Both have worked in difficult environments on behalf of the country they love – Mike for the United States Army and FBI in Chicago.  Kristi – serving her country for the Department of Defense in Iraq.  Last time I checked, that is called patriotism.”

Rogers Statement on The Trump Transition Team

November 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: jordana@mikerogers.com
202-629-4083

Washington, D.C. – “These past six months, it has been an honor to serve as National Security Senior Advisor to the Trump transition team.

It was a privilege to prepare and advise the policy, personnel and agency action teams on all aspects of the national security portfolio during the initial pre-election planning phase.  Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday.

I was proud of the team that we assembled at Trump for America to produce meaningful policy, personnel, and agency action guidance on the complex national security challenges facing our great country.

My team and I are pleased to hand off our work to my friend and former colleague, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Executive Director Rick Dearborn, the Trump family, and the stellar new leadership team.

America’s challenges domestically and overseas are so enormous that we needed to move in a drastically different direction for our country.  The American people felt that, and made a historic choice that shocked the political and media establishment.  It was my pleasure to take to the national television and radio airwaves to highlight the stark choice between the bold change represented by President-elect Trump and the dangerous status quo represented by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I look forward to continuing to provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration as they work to make America great again.”

Editor’s Note: The Honorable Mike Rogers formerly served as a United States Army officer, an FBI special agent and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.  He is currently a CNN National Security Commentator and Host and Executive Producer of Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies

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