FBI Agents Association endorses Rogers for director

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The FBI Agents Association on Saturday endorsed retired U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Howell Republican, to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Association President Thomas F. O’Connor said Rogers exemplifies the principles that should be embodied in the agency’s next chief.

“It is essential that the next FBI director understand the details of how agents do their important work. Mike Rogers’ background as a special agent, veteran of the armed forces and former member of Congress sets him apart as someone capable of confronting the wide array of challenges facing our help ensure that the Bureau remains the world’s premiere law enforcement agency,” O’Connor said in a statement.

“Rogers’ unique and diverse experience will allow him to effectively lead the men and women of the Bureau as we work to protect our country from criminal and terrorist threats. During his time in Congress he showed a commitment to confronting threats to our country in a nonpartisan and collaborative manner.”

The association, which represents more than 13,000 active duty and retired agents, also endorsed Rogers when he was up for the FBI post in 2014. That year, President Barack Obama instead selected former deputy attorney general James Comey, who was fired Tuesday by President Donald Trump.

The Department of Justice began interviewing candidates in Washington on Saturday.

In addition to Rogers, those under consideration for FBI chief include Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general; U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and former federal prosecutor; Alice Fisher, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division under President George W. Bush; former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly; acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; Michael J. Garcia, an associate judge on the New York’s highest court, according to News reports.

Trump, who traveled to Virginia for a commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday, said he could make a decision on a new director before he departs for a trip to Saudi Arabia on Friday.

“I think the process is going to go quickly,” Trump told reporters Saturday morning aboard Air Force One. “Almost all of them are very well-known. They’ve been vetted over their lifetime, essentially. But very well-known, highly respected, really talented people. And that’s what we want for the FBI.”

Rogers spoke to WJR’s Paul W. Smith on Wednesday morning about Trump’s dismissal of Comey.

“The administration is going to need to move fairly quickly on a consensus candidate. This creates a little bit of turmoil, as we can all see and imagine, not only in the ranks of the FBI ... but we need a little calming factor, a little leadership, and a little less spotlight for the FBI director running to the microphone every time he has a pain about some political fluttering out there,” Rogers told WJR. “I think that’s what got Jim Comey in trouble.”

Rogers, 53, served seven terms in the U.S. House and chaired the House Intelligence committee before retiring in 2014. A frequent Sunday morning talk show guest during his tenure in Congress, Rogers is now a national security commentator on CNN and hosts a syndicated radio show.

During the 2016 primary election season, Rogers promoted “strong” American foreign policy and organized forums on national security with presidential candidates in battleground states through a group he founded called Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security.

Rogers grew up in Livingston County as the youngest of five boys. He graduated from Adrian College in 1985 and moved to California to serve with the U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Division through 1989, earning the rank of 1st lieutenant.

Rogers joined the FBI as an agent first assigned to the Chicago field office investigating organized crime. He spent about five years in the bureau before returning to Michigan to enter elected politics at age 31.

He served in the Michigan Senate and became majority leader in 1999 before running for Congress in 2000. In 2011, he became chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees 16 intelligence agencies.

“Although then-Special Agent Rogers left the FBI in 1995 to start his political career, he has never forgotten the men and women of the Bureau and was a champion for agents during his congressional career,” O’Connor said.

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