Rep. Mike Rogers Goes On National TV To Lie About NSA Programs And Snowden

from the aren't-journalists-supposed-to-call-out-these-things? dept

Number 1 NSA fan (and, laughingly, the guy supposedly in charge of oversight), Rep. Mike Rogers went on George Stephanopoulos’ show this weekend to talk about the latest NSA goings-on and as far as I can tell, he appeared to be allergic to the truth, because there’s an awful lot of things he said that are simply, factually, bullshit. Let’s take a few examples, starting with the big one about Ed Snowden:

Rogers: Here’s where I think he’s crossed the line now, George, he has contacted a foreign country and said, ‘I will sell you classified information for something of value.’ That’s what we call a traitor in this country.

Stephanopoulos: You’re talking about his open letter to Brazil?

Rogers: Absolutely! He has traded something of value for his own personal gain that jeopardizes the national security of the United States. We call that treason. And I think that letter, very clearly, lays out who this gentlemen is and what his intentions were. Clearly.

What he’s referring to is the open letter Snowden sent to the people of Brazil, which we posted recently. Nowhere in there does Snowden do anything that Rogers says above. He does not offer to sell anything. He does not request anything. He does not offer them classified information. In fact, he does the opposite. He offers an unconditional promise to help politicians there with their investigation, if they want, but clearly stated he would only do so “wherever appropriate and lawful.” And at no point did he request anything in return, let alone something of value.

Why would Rep. Mike Rogers go on TV and directly lie about Ed Snowden to claim he was a traitor? Does Mike Rogers think so little of the American public that he believes they won’t actually read what Snowden wrote and realize that Rogers is flat out lying? He claims that the letter shows what Snowden’s intentions are, and I agree. They’re the exact opposite of what Rogers claims on TV.

Elsewhere, when asked about last week’s task force report that proposes some pretty big changes, while calling out the NSA’s programs for going too far, Rogers lies again.

Perspective is important here. If you think about where we are and what the panel did — which was dominated by law professors — they basically said that the information is important, but where we keep it may be up for debate. So that’s a very important milestone for those who said ‘oh, this is devastating to the NSA.’ I disagree. What they said was ‘this information is a vital part of our counterterrorism effort, to keep Americans safe.'”

This is also a lie. The report repeatedly notes that the Section 215 program did not appear to be useful or effective. And, the members of the panel have been speaking out about how shocked they were that the NSA couldn’t even come up with a remotely defensible excuse for the program. Richard Clarke — who is not a “law professor” as Rogers implies, but rather the former anti-terrorism czar for multiple presidents — went on On the Media last week to point out that what stunned him was that the NSA couldn’t show the panel a single example where the program was necessary. Clarke notes that they were able to go through all of the data related to this program and “we came to the conclusion it was not necessary in any case where it was used.”

Again, Rogers is flat out lying to the public over very factual information.

Next up, he’s asked about the ruling by Judge Leon that the program is unconstitutional, Rogers went on the attack.

16 federal judges, 36 different opinions have all had a different opinion…. And these are business records, not your personal records. That’s very, very different. There have been hundreds of appellate decisions reaffirming the government’s right to get business records in the course of a terror investigation or determining if a terrorist overseas is calling into the United States. So this is one case, when you have a huge volume…. Yes, this one district judge that doesn’t handle national security cases had a difference of opinion. That’s our good system. But he set aside his own decision, as he said ‘likely to be overturned’ because of the sheer volume of federal judges who have already reviewed this… and reaffirmed that this program is legal. It does meet the constitutional test…

Also, almost entirely untrue. Yes, courts have said that business records can be collected without a warrant, but the courts meant it within the context of Maryland v. Smith, involving a single bit of information about a specific person. Not the bulk collection of data on everyone. Judge Leon clearly made the distinction, which Rogers ignores and misrepresents. And, yes, while the FISA Court has approved the program repeatedly, it’s in a non-adversarial process in which no one has presented the other side. Now that that’s finally happening, the judge has rejected it.

Honestly, it’s difficult to find anything that Rep. Rogers spoke accurately about in this appearance. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, not once did Stephanopoulos push back on anything Rogers said. Because that’s DC “journalism” where the “press” just let the politicians lie to the American public, because that’s what they do.

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Comments on “Rep. Mike Rogers Goes On National TV To Lie About NSA Programs And Snowden”

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Anonymous Coward says:

This is pretty simple, actually

Mike Rogers is a whore.

Mike Rogers is a coward.

Mike Rogers is a liar.

Mike Rogers hates America.

Once you absorb those few basic facts, his behavior becomes far easier to analyze. In fact, it’s quite consistent and pretty much exactly what you’d expect. The problem is that we’d like to believe otherwise: we’d LIKE to believe that he’s a representative of the public and that he really does want to uphold and defend the Constitution, as he swore to do. But what we’d like to believe is diametrically opposed to reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Stephanopoulos: You’re talking about his open letter to Brazil?

Rogers: Absolutely! He has traded something of value for his own personal gain that jeopardizes the national security of the United States. We call that treason.

No….YOU call it treason. I was unaware that the United States was in any way in any kind of conflict with Brazil. Treason is defined in part anyways, as aiding an enemy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Regarding that letter

Regarding that letter: It made me uncomfortable. It obviously doesn’t come right out with an offer to sell classified information, but it’s not a big stretch to read between the lines that he wants asylum and is offering his services to help his cause. And as far as the statement: “wherever appropriate and lawful”, he’s already shown that he’s willing to use his own interpretation of “lawful” and once again, it’s not a big stretch to see that he’d do it again.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes is a story written by Hans Christian Andersen. Rep. Mike Rogers interview reminds me of the story in a big way. He goes on TV, espouses his rhetoric, which is promptly parroted and rehashed across a plethora of news organizations, all of which agree with his views. With his world view limited to old world news organizations he doesn’t see that everyone notices that he is naked.

Enter a small child that doesn’t know to follow the narrative in the form of bloggers that tear the narrative to hell and tell the true story.

Anonymous Coward says:

How the bloody hell do people like Feinstein and Rodgers become the head of these oversight committees when they have no interest in performing any form of oversight? There ought to be a method for the people or the rest of congress to be able to remove such obvious shills from their committee chairs and replace them with someone willing to perform at least some form of oversight.

saulgoode (profile) says:

“But he set aside his own decision, as he said ‘likely to be overturned’

Rogers is wrong on two counts.

Judge Leon did not “set aside” his judgement, he “stayed” it. Setting aside a decision nullifies it, staying a decision postpones its execution until a later time.

Nor did the Judge say it was “likely to be overturned”; he presumed the government would appeal his decision — so “likely to be appealed” would be an accurate paraphrasing — but he also warned the government it should prepare for the eventuality of “when, and if, this ruling is upheld”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Once again, it comes down to the NSA, the politicians involved with oversight, and the administration can’t tell the truth about these programs because they realize just how bad that would sound. They need not worry about how bad it sounds, because it is just as bad as is revealed.

The public has come to understand they will never own up to the truth, will never admit they have exceeded their mandate, and need to be held accountable for those actions. The shame of it is, unless the whole country rises up in disagreement it will never happen.

I am not too sure that rising up is out of the question. This whole spying business is wrapped up with corporations helping them out. The same corporations that are responsible for the steady increases in prices for the cost of living, food, energy, and employment that is below a living wage. At some point people put 2 and 2 together and find out there is not enough to buy food. When it reaches that level, you will see unrest and it is right below that level now. We more closely resemble the Great Depression than any other era at this time.

out_of_the_blue says:

In other "news": Dog Bites Man.

No matter how many times I point up that your expectations for politicians are wacky and you can expect no more from them, you keep running these trivial bits of political fluff.

Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

What is this? A political blog? Where’s the tech?


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In other "news": Dog Bites Man.

Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

As you’re routinely compelled to show up and post here, I wouldn’t necessarily call the it trivial – I’d call it “effective”

Everything’s more believable when you include some lines

Anonymous Coward says:

All bullshit aside… The whole point of all this crap they have been doing was supposed to be for the purpose of protecting americans. Period!

And yet the only protection has been for the criminal bankers, politicians, and gov. agents for crimes against us.
Wall street’s crimes were more harmful than any terrorist act and they were protected and paid. The banks got away with crimes because no gov. agency or office would do their job.

And now finally someone actually did his job which is supposed to be, protecting us, and now he is in trouble for it. WTF!?

It exposes the reality of all of this bullshit.

Peter (profile) says:

Edward Snowden - US Business' best friend?

>> ‘I will sell you classified information for something of value.’
At this stage, the value might actually be to US companies! Right now, any non-US company loosing a bidding competition to a US company for oil rights, mining rights or selling things is in a good position to challenge the outcome suggesting the US competitor might have had an unfair advantage due to support by the NSA – the current assumption is the NSA listens to everything and anybody (except for terrorists, maybe, given the NSA’s track record in not catching them …).

Unless the NSA or the US government decide to turn on transparency, Edward Snowden might be the only person with the information and credibility to narrow down the scope …

Anonymous Coward says:

be fair. does anyone really expect the truth to come out from anyone who has been so heavily involved in the anti-constitutional, anti-American practices that have been going on? of course not! they have been lying for so long about so many things, i doubt if any of them know what is true and what isn’t. the problem is though that they expect the people to forget what has been going on, who is involved and the effect. they also get to the position of having lied for so long over so many things, they dont know when they are lying anyway!

Anonymous Coward says:


Wanna show that you’re the beacon of truth while Rogers is a lying devil, then actually discuss any of his perceived lies in the comments. I mean, you aren’t lying, right? Surely, you’re willing to honestly discuss your view that he is, right?

Oh, wait. I forgot. Mike doesn’t discuss substance. He just spreads FUD. Prove me wrong?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Surely, you’re willing to honestly discuss your view that he is,

If you’d have read the article, the stance that Rogers is lying would be obvious to you.

It’s only FUD if it isn’t true – can you specifically outline exactly what Snowden did that made the United States vulnerable?

Outlining a spy program that “we all must’ve known” existed surely wouldn’t be any surprise…after all, it’s “just” metadata. Unimportant stuff. Nothing to see here…right?

Anonymous Coward says:

“Oh, and in case you’re wondering, not once did Stephanopoulos push back on anything Rogers said.”

Stephanopoulos can play ‘bad cop’ as well as ‘good cop’.

When Stephanopoulos “interviewed” Dennis Rodman about his North Korea visit, he ripped Rodman to shreds. Stephanopoulos has also been tough on a few ‘maverick’ politicians, such as Ron Paul.

But like most any mainstream journalist who values his career, Stephanopoulos routinely bows down and kisses the feet of those in power.

Anonymous Coward says:

It doesn’t matter what is ‘factually true’, what matters is that he lied with a straight face and an earnest voice.

People don’t care if they’re being lied to, just that the person lying to them is confident in their lies. Snowden being a traitor and trying to sell nuclear secrets to Brazil or whatever bullshit he was trying to push is an absolute truth now. Why? because he said it on TV without a laugh track being played in the background.

So now, to three-hundred million people, Snowden is worse than Hitler. Expect opinion polls to reflect that in the coming months.

Anonymous Coward says:

Speaking of definitions...

politician (n.)
1580s, “person skilled in politics,” from politics + -ian. Johnson defines it as “A man of artifice; one of deep contrivance.”

contrive (v.)early 14c., from Old French controver (Modern French controuver) “to find out, contrive, imagine,” from Late Latin contropare “to compare”

Sense evolution (in French) was from “invent with ingenuity” to “invent falsely.”

Mike Rodgers is definitely “A man of artifice; one of deep contrivance.”

Anonymous Coward says:

One of the great paradoxes that continues to fascinate me...

…is that for an organization that is so pervasively invasive and reliant on the internet and digital technology, the NSA and it’s political adherent seem so blissfully unaware of both as a resource and conveyor for knowledge-sharing and education by the citizens and subjects it targets.

They have one foot (spying) in the future, and one foot (public relations) in the past. So much so, that the present continues to hound them at every step, instilling little confidence and trust in them as effectively ambulatory in the least.

Given that they are fond of the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise, perhaps they think they’re playing some game of Vulcan three-dimensional chess. Problem is, their opponents are playing checkers and the citizens backgammon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nope, of course Mike has no interest in defending any of his arguments that Rogers lied. Mike doesn’t do substance. Just FUD.

As multiple people pointed out here Mike substantiated all of his claims in the post. Not sure what you’re arguing here. Was there a specific claim you think he needs to defend further?

GEMont (profile) says:


Perhaps it is time to add a few small changes to standard American Democracy – like:

1. “Lying to the public while holding public office will render the liar unfit for public office anywhere in the USA, ever again. It could indeed be viewed as treason, since corruption in government weakens the nation and makes it easier for enemies to wreak havoc, in effect, aiding and abetting all enemies of the USA.”


2. “Once a year, the public gets together on the internet, to vote on which politicans should be ousted from office for dereliction of duty, criminal activity, dishonesty and impersonating a statesman, and then vote again to choose a replacement.”

Yep, those two would go a long way towards creating and maintaining an honest government. Its certain that no such creature has existed at any time during human history.

Methinks it be way past time for such.

leichter (profile) says:

So … who’s going to take the clip of Rogers’s interview, overlay it with big letters saying “LIe!” followed by someone giving all the details of why it’s a lie (in the style of political attack ads), and circulate it widely? (I’d do it but I have neither the equipment nor the editing skills to do a good job.)

This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

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