Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Intelligence Committee and author of the controversial CISPA cybersecurity bill, is stepping down in 2015 in order to host a nationally syndicated radio show. On a Michigan radio program, Rogers announced that he would not seek reelection in 2014, instead accepting a spot on the Cumulus network. "I had a career before politics and always planned to have one after," he said in a statement published by MLive.com. "The genius of our institutions is they are not dependent on the individual temporary occupants privileged to serve.
In his statement, Rogers promised that he would continue to support "American exceptionalism" and "a strong nation security policy agenda." Among other things, Rogers has spent the past few years unsuccessfully shepherding the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) through Congress. CISPA was created in order to allow companies and government agencies to share information about malicious software and security breaches, a goal that many in Washington were working towards. But its approach worried privacy advocates, who objected to provisions that would give companies immunity for turning over user information along with more general data. The bill passed the House of Representatives in 2012, but President Obama indicated he would veto it, and it died in the Senate. Obama would ultimately issue his own cybersecurity executive order. In 2013, Rogers brought the bill back, to no avail.
"14-year-old tweeters in the basement"
Rogers has also supported the National Security Agency as it's faced criticism over several programs revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. He recently co-sponsored a bill to partially reform the NSA's phone surveillance program, attempting to forestall other, more dramatic changes that would "prevent us from uncovering terrorist plots against our country and our allies." As chair of the House Intelligence Committee, he was one of a small number of Congress members who understood the scope of the program, and he allegedly failed to distribute documents about it to other representatives. Rogers has also become known for abrasive statements about his critics and national security in general. He labeled the typical CISPA opponent a "14-year-old tweeter in the basement" and has implied that Edward Snowden allied with Russian spies, saying that his attempts at reform were like "like having the janitor at a bank who figured out how to steal some money deciding matters of high finance."
Rogers was first elected in 2000, and he says he's turned down offers for radio shows before. This morning, , however, he told Michigan's Big Show host Michael Patrick Shiels that he worried Washington, DC politics had "ground to a halt" in places. "I thought if there was a way we could change the dialogue, is it better to do it where I'm at or is it better to try and find an opportunity that allows you to talk to a lot more people across the country?"