“You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated”. Those were the words out of the mouth of Mike Rogers, the chairmen of the House Oversight Committee of the United States Intelligence agencies. This ridiculous and frightening quote was said during a hearing about concerns American University College of Law professor Stephen Vladeck had over the NSA surveillance program. Mike Rogers has made it clear on many occasions how he supports the NSA surveillance program and feels the American people are on a need to know basis.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to various media outlets. American citizens now know that their privacy is being violated. This has infuriated the Congressman, who has implied that Snowden may have been helped by the Russian Government. Saying “I believe there’s questions to be answered there. I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB” when asked by David Gregory if he thought the Russians helped Edward Snowden. Rogers has done everything in his power to label Snowden as a traitor, who’s “acts of betrayal place America’s military men and women at greater risk” and will have “lethal consequences for out troops in the field”. All of this is fear mongering at it’s best, as there is no evidence, what so ever that Snowden was or has been working with Russia, and that any of out troops are at greater risk.
Mike Rogers has a way of ginning up fear so he can continue his agenda. Which makes him very dangerous to American citizens and their rights. One example of this was a short exchange I had with him on Twitter the other day:
The “changes” that Rogers is talking about in Obama’s Drone Policy was just lip service for those who are opposed to the drone program. There was no actual policy change for targeted strikes. On December 11th of 2013 a wedding party in Yemen was struck by a drone, killing 12 civilians. Yet Rep. Mike Rogers still thinks that so called “self-imposed red tape” is limiting drone strikes, and making The United States less safe. What the Congressmen doesn’t understand is that drone strikes are creating more individuals looking to attack and plot against U.S. interests. In a report by The Washington Post it shows that “U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesman to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States”. In the article a businessman whose two brothers were killed in a U.S. strike in March is quoted saying “These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaedea is on the right side’”.
Just the other day on February 10th, two new revelations became known about the U.S. Drone policy. Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill released a report about “The NSA’s Secret Role in The U.S. Assassination Program” on their new news website The Intercept (Firstlook.org/theintercept/). In the report:
“a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.”
The former drone operator goes into further detail about how these strikes are conducted, using “the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone” to “geolocate” a suspected terrorist. He makes it clear that “that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”. “But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic” Yet, Rep. Mike Rogers is furious over the fact that the American people know now what the government is doing in their name, with their tax dollars.
The other news on the U.S. Drone program that broke the other day by the Associated Press, was that the Obama Administration is weighing the decision if they should launch a drone attack on a U.S. citizen. The target is an “American citizen and suspected member of al-Qaida who is allegedly planning attacks on U.S. targets overseas” If the Obama Administration goes through with this attack, this would be the fifth U.S. Citizen killed by a drone strike under President Obama’s term. Under Obama’s new “policy”, American’s suspected of terrorism overseas can only be killed by the military and not the C.I.A.. This is the “red-tape” the Mike Rogers is referring to when he Tweeted me. The new policy isn’t about how it is legal/constitutional to kill a U.S. citizen, without trial. The new policy and “red tape” is about the method we kill a U.S. citizen.
Yet, Mike Rogers continues to spout out lies, and spin the truth. In the Academy Award nominated documentary “Dirty Wars”, Jeremy Scahill shows first hand what the effects of U.S. drone strikes have on the people of Yemen. Graphic images of women and children who have been killed by U.S drone strikes is disturbing, and eye opening. The effects it has on the villagers left in the destruction is heart breaking. One of the villagers says to Scahill “If children are terrorist we are all terrorist” while showing him photos of the aftermath of a drone strike, which killed women and children.
Mike Rogers is the Chairman of the committee that is suppose to over see all the U.S. intelligence committees, and says the U.S Drone Policy has too much “red tape”. Since becoming Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in 2011, Mike Rogers has received over $162,000 in campaign contributions from drone manufacturers (opensecrets.org). Any reasonable person would consider this a conflict of interest, but not in U.S. politics. Mike Rogers has a history of defending policies in the sake of campaign contributions. Back in March of 2013 Rogers was the biggest supporter of CISPA, a bill that would make American’s personal data accessible to the U.S. Government by setting up a knowledge-sharing agreement with private companies. Rogers tweeted, and then deleted a link to a story about how CISPA supporters, had received 15 times more cash from pro-CISPA groups compared to the opposition had received from anti-CISPA groups.
Mike Rogers’ wife Kristi Clemens Rogers, who is a former CEO of Aegis LLC, a security defense contractor company. Aegis would of benefited from CISPA, but it was voted down in the Senate, and threaten to be vetoed by President Obama. As CEO of Aegis, Mrs. Rogers was “focused on business development and new-market-entry relationship building for Aegis LLC and the worldwide Aegis Group, drawing on her established global network of relationships with key stakeholders in U.S. federal civilian, defense and intelligence agencies, foreign governments and leading private sector companies to pursue and secure new business opportunities in Latin and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, and to land U.S. defense and intelligence contracts.” Mrs. Rogers now works for Manatt, a lobbying firm were she is focused on “executive-level problem solving in the defense and homeland security sectors”. So you can safely say, Mr and Mrs. Rogers have a lot of stock invested in defense contractors success. Once again, any reasonable person would consider this a conflict of interest for Mike Rogers.
On February 4th, Mike Rogers finally went off the deep end, by accusing Glenn Greenwald of “selling his access to information” and calling him a “thief” and an “accomplice” to Snowden. Glenn Greenwald is the journalist who broke the story on the NSA snooping program based on the documents leaked by the whistle blower Edward Snowden. Mike Rogers is once again trying to protect his cronies in the defense and intelligence community, by threatening to imprison a journalist who has exposed them. Rogers is also sending a message to other journalist that he will not let The Constitution get in his way. Greenwald has not broken any laws by reporting on the NSA’s unconstitutional program, but he has angered those who benefit from it.
Mike Rogers is a very dangerous man, and his actions put American’s safety and liberties at risk. By calling for more Drone Strikes, which create blow back and new enemies toward the U.S.. Saying “red tape” let’s individuals who want to harm U.S. interest remain free, when the drone program is already responsible for countless civilian deaths. He does not argue the fact that we are killing our own citizens, he is arguing the fact that there is too much “red tape” preventing us killing our own citizens. He wants to keep American’s in the dark about their privacy being violated, labels journalist as criminals, who should be prosecuted. His campaign contributions mold his policies and his voting record. Mike Rogers puts his personal gain over the well being of the American people by supporting programs which are unpopular and dangerous to our country. Mike Rogers is the man who is in charge of overseeing the Intelligence Committees, when he should be the one being overseen. Mike Rogers is a man who gets angry at the fact that there is “red-tape” preventing the United States from killing one of it’s own citizens, without trial, whenever it feels someone is guilty. That kind of mindset, and ideology is what makes Mike Rogers The Most Dangerous Man in Congress.