Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers puts pretty much every other political defender of the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance tactics to shame. As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he even manages to outdo Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) defense of NSA intrusions with his fearmongering and accusations that Edward Snowden is under the influence of the Russians.
Rogers was still pushing that story last weekend, with no real evidence. He has introduced his own version of NSA "reform" that experts say is anything but. His "End Bulk Collection Act" doesn't end bulk collection at all and could actually allow the NSA to analyze even more of our data without oversight (Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation explains more here).
But raise a glass and toast: Mike Rogers is retiring from Congress. He announced this morning that he will not run for re-election at the end of his term and will, instead, start a conservative talk radio show. He told a Detroit radio show, "It's a pretty rare opportunity. They don't come around very often." I don't think I need Politifact to assess the accuracy of that observation.
Some more from the parade of awfulness that is Rogers' political career since he joined Congress in 2000:
- Rogers introduced the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which promoted sharing of data between the government and private Internet companies for the stated aim of preventing cyberattacks. It was criticized for lacking civil liberties safeguards and died after President Barack Obama threatened to veto it. He referred to critics of CISPA as "14-year-olds in their basements clicking around on the Internet."
- He has argued that publishers could or should be charged with espionage for printing classified information if they were paid for their work.
- He called for American intervention in Syria, saying, "This is the time to act. Don't wait until we have 5,000 dead. That's too late."
- He has co-sponsored multiple bills to outlaw Internet gambling.
- He was the primary sponsor of the censorious Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, the legislation targeting the Westboro Baptist Church that makes it illegal to protest within 300 feet of a military funeral on a federal cemetery an hour before or after the services.
Read his consistently terrible stands on choosing security over liberty here. Farewell, Rogers. Tech and privacy journalists probably beat the candy out of the Big Security piñata you represent weeks ago.